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Bring Your Interviewing A-Game
By Tangalayer Oates ’04
Guest writer, CEO at Transcending Borders Corporation
Published Winter 2021-22, Affinity magazine

In my years of training, clients have learned how to communicate constructive feedback, yet many are unaware of how to accept such criticism. These comments can feel gut-wrenching on the receiving end, whether it is unsolicited, uncensored, lacking knowledge or understanding! I suggest my clients view criticism as a lifelong process that can become “constructive and purpose-filled,” if they actively choose to repurpose this information!

I admit the term “constructive” is an understatement, often leaving my clients perplexed and unsure how to use or digest the information. It is possible to find purpose in criticism, even if it lacks a constructive overtone. There can be some vulnerability, however, if they keep an open mind, it can provide value or possibly create a positive experience during the process.

I encourage you to use information provided through the lens of others to improve who you are! to repurpose criticism and create valuable goals aligning with who you want to become. Here are three viewpoints to consider:

1. Actively engage in constructive feedback.
Take the initiative to learn how feedback is communicated within your organization. You do not have to wait for a performance evaluation and can solicit input throughout the year. Revaluate your goals based on feedback, if necessary. Consider completing a 360-degree assessment. This could be an excellent opportunity to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. If an evaluation process does not currently exist, propose a plan to your organization’s leaders.

2. Acknowledgment is not agreement.
Feedback can be spontaneous, verbal or survey-driven. Remember that all feedback is not designed the same, nor does it all promote positivity — and this is okay! If you disagree, it can merely be a difference of opinion. Focus on the information that can contribute to your becoming a better individual or team player, as well as those points that align with your organization’s mission, visions or core objectives.

3. Repurpose the criticism.
Take time for self-reflection, but avoid being overly critical of yourself. For example, if several individuals share similar points of view, you may focus on how improving the specific behavior(s) can benefit the situation. Consider how this feedback can help you create or re-establish goals designed to promote a healthier environment for the workplace and your home life.

Tangalayer Oates ’04 is the chief executive officer and principal instructor at Transcending Borders Corporation, a human resources and organizational management consulting and training company based in Georgia. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Columbia College’s location in St. Louis and a Master of Business Administration from Trident University International.

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