We understand getting criticized at work can be embarrassing. But it is a part of your career and if taken in stride, you can use the criticisms to improve professionally.

This makes it extremely crucial to be able to handle criticism at work. In this blog, we will help you answer, “How do you handle criticism?” so you can draft your answer and impress the recruiter.

Let’s begin!

Why do recruiters ask "How do you handle criticism?"

This behavioral interview question helps the recruiter assess how you react or deal with challenging situations.

In this case, they can learn more about you as an employee through the criticisms you have received in your previous roles.

Your answer to How you handle criticism speaks volumes about how you work under different management styles and use criticism as a tool to perform better.

Sample answers on how to handle criticism

Sample Answer #1:

“It took me a while to not take criticism personally and filter only the constructive criticisms.

I remember in my first team meeting at my first job, the skip-level boss randomly stated how an editor is dispensable now that there are grammar check apps.

Given the incident took place within a week of joining, I left the meeting room in tears, only to realize there were no comments about my performance, and I am not in control of others’ opinions.

So, I put the incident behind me and went to work confidently.”

Sample Answer #2:

“When criticized, I tend to ask many questions until I have enough answers to clear my confusion. In my last job, my manager had once criticized my work, but it wasn’t clear.

So, I asked all about what I had done wrong to gather feedback and improve. I remember asking too many questions offended my manager since I sounded a little defensive, but over the years, I have learned to ask questions that matter and accept criticism positively.

Sample Answer #3:

“It was my first job when my senior criticized my work about a senior journalist’s article edit.

She simply sat me down and asked if I was nervous about working on a senior’s article because it was hardly touched and had a massive scope of editing.

I explained my nervousness as it was my first copy in the company and the seniority of the writer was a little intimidating for me. She understood but asked me to redo it and do whatever the article needed to be the best since that was my responsibility.

Post that incident, I used to reach out to the journalist before editing the piece to understand the context and then start editing. This allows me to build rapport and understand the context well before I edit a piece.”

Sample Answer #4:

“I have been working for 5 years now but my relationship with criticism has been a roller coaster. Initially, I used to take criticism personally and worry about the feedback I got.

But with experience, I have learned to accept criticism with a pinch of salt. I thrive on criticism now as it helps me grow better.

For instance, I had this nagging habit of taking notes on my laptop. So much so, that I used to be focused on making notes rather than being attentive in the meeting.

The first time my boss called me out on this, I did not react very well to it. But soon after, I realized how much sense they were making. So, I swallowed my anger and hurt, and started accepting advice and criticism that makes sense.

Sample Answer #5:

“I believe I handle criticism well. I find that it is a part of my learning curve, which is why I don’t mind learning anything new from my juniors and seniors alike. But this wasn’t the case always.

As a fresher in the sales department, I prepared a presentation and submitted it to my manager for feedback. Although my overall presentation was on-point, my manager pointed out several spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, etc.

Initially, post receiving the feedback, I felt a little defensive and believed that I wasn't a content writer or editor. But upon contemplation, I realized that these minute details mattered, it can leave a poor impression on the client.

So, I tried to complete my task with enough time in hand to run the content through proper grammar checks."

What NOT to do when answering “How do you handle criticism?”

Answering such behavioral interview questions can be a little tricky, so the best is to practice answering how to handle criticism.

Apart from practicing how to answer this behavioral interview question, here are a few factors to remember when answering how to handle criticism.

  • Do not avoid the question
  • Do not lie to the recruiter
  • Do not be too negative/personal

There is no point in avoiding the question as the recruiter will find one way or the other and fibbing or being too negative will present a poor picture to the recruiter.


Hopefully, you will find these sample answers to “How do you handle criticism?”. Remember, the key to answering how to handle criticism successfully lies in practice.

So, when practicing try to stick to the STAR method as it will help you to keep your answers short and on point.

All the Best!