By Ioana Bucsa & Crystal Horner
The term ‘feedback’ is used to describe helpful information (sometimes in the form of criticism) about prior actions or behaviours of an individual, communicated to that individual or others who can, in turn, use that information to adjust and improve in some meaningful way.
Feedback occurs daily in a variety of situations. Most common times are when it is in relation to a service or product, but also it can be regarding performance (manager or peer feedback).
Feedback in the workplace or after an interview is vital to the subject’s continuous improvement. And it is not only for the person who receives feedback; it has a big impact on the person who provides feedback as well as it forces that person out of their comfort zone and to be better at having difficult conversations.
Like everything else, there is no such thing as perfect feedback when it comes to the messaging or the delivery, but practice makes everything better. The more feedback you give, the better your messaging becomes. The more receptive you are to feedback, the better it feels each time.
Some managers, however, are reluctant to provide constructive feedback, thinking that it may turn negative or be perceived as harsh criticism by the recipient. It is important to find the right time and place for feedback, use positive language, and always provide specific examples.
6 reasons why feedback is important
# 1) Increases Self Awareness
Feedback helps you to discover your strengths and weaknesses. In an interview this allows you to improve your presentation skills and have more meaningful conversations. Knowing those strengths and weaknesses aids in confidence and improves interview performance. Hiring managers will sense your self awareness, which in turn, translates to your ability to build better relationships, and be a strong contributing member of their team.
#2) Encourages Personal Development
Feedback allows you to harness your strengths and improve upon your weaknesses. Harnessing strengths means identifying what you love to do and pursuing those activities to your greatest satisfaction. As we focus our efforts on a particular course, it is natural that we will improve in the process. We embrace practice and appreciate our progress. Conversely, we might consider perceived weaknesses as opportunities for improvement. Not all of our strengths lie at the surface. Sometimes we have to be told we ‘aren’t good enough’ in order to discover them.
#3) Gets people talking and motivates
Giving feedback is a skill. Key is to always prioritize the “why” of the feedback. We need to understand why we are receiving this feedback or why we are giving it. Giving or receiving criticism can make for one of the toughest conversations to have on either side. Make that conversation count, take in all the feedback both positive and negative, book a follow up meeting to talk about it if you need more time, and remember to listen with intent.
#4) Feedback is always there
Feedback needs to be a regular feature. It can be formal or informal, simple, or complex. The more frequent the feedback is, the less of a surprise it becomes. Investing time in asking and learning about how others experience working with you – ‘What do you like about the way I work and what don’t you like?’ It is tough to listen to others’ sometimes seemingly ill-founded opinions about our behaviour, but it can be the best way to grow as people.
#5) Improves Performance
Feedback can change someone’s focus and their results, and therefore lead to improved performance. It can provide clear goals and milestones and enable employees to evaluate their own performance. It allows employees to recognize their strengths and work on their weakest points. All this applies to any job seeker: the more they learn about their own performance, the better they do.
All employees crave feedback; there is a study by Officevibe that shows that 4 in 10 employees become disengaged when they do not receive feedback. As a manager, providing feedback can create opportunities to connect with employees on a regular basis and allow understanding of what keeps them engaged and connected to the company’s culture.
As recruiters, we are in constant contact with job seekers, candidates, and clients. There are opportunities daily to offer or receive feedback, be it after an interview, on a job application, on the job, or after a term position has ended. We encourage clients to provide their feedback as much as we seek feedback about employers from candidates. Engaged and happy employees are a great tool to promote a great organization. We also know that candidates who openly accept feedback are highly desired by industry’s most successful organizations.
Remember, feedback can be uncomfortable. It may be hard to give and even worse to receive. As part of our corporate culture at Recruitment Partners Inc., built on a system of core values, we consider feedback as a gift. The purpose of feedback is to help another improve, so consider that in how you deliver those critical few words in your next feedback session.