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5 Steps to Help You Handle Criticism at Work

If you are like me and many others, you know how difficult it is to deal with criticism, whether in a private setting or in a larger group, for example at the workplace or an interview. Unfortunately, we often react negatively when it comes to both unjustified criticism as well as to constructive criticism that might be appropriate and might actually be helpful to us, make us aware of weaknesses or help us improve our skills. And yet it is difficult for us to deal with the emotions that any type of negative feedback can evoke. We feel uncomfortable, the heart begins to race and we automatically take a defensive position. Sometimes we may even get caught up and the criticism is translated as an attack that may lead to a counterattack on our part, instead of dealing with the criticism appropriately.


Is it possible to learn to accept tough criticism at work without taking it personally? We believe it’s a skill worth developing. Here are five healthy ways to deal with criticism at work or after an interview that will help take your career to the next level.


  1. Suppress Your First Reaction

It is best not to respond at the first sign of criticism. There is a scientific reason for that. Your brain may need a second to absorb and process the situation so that you can react to it accordingly. This first reaction that comes up is usually not always the best. Crossed arms, a dismissive expression, a snippy reply. You almost automatically go into a defensive stance. You should stop this first reaction and try to stay calm and  aware.


  1. Remember the Benefits of Criticism

By not responding negatively, you have signaled to your counterpart that you are open to criticism. You should spend the next few seconds consciously reminding yourself of the benefits of criticism. Good criticism is not simply thrown in your face. Constructive criticism helps you improve your skills and the quality of your work. Meaningful criticism will never make you feel like everything you’re doing is wrong. Criticism should always come across as a guidance that there is simply still room for improvement. It is also important that you separate the criticism from the person giving you feedback. It doesn’t have to come from your favorite colleague or mentor to be useful. 


  1. Listen Carefully to Understand

To avoid misunderstandings, listen carefully to understand exactly what the other person’s criticism is about. This includes giving him/her the opportunity to fully express their thoughts without interruptions. When the person is done, repeat what they told you and let them know that you want to be absolutely sure you understand what they said. Try to refrain from analyzing what you have heard or questioning it straight away. It is not only difficult to accept constructive criticism – it is also sometimes difficult to express it. The other person may not be able to find the right words or be nervous, so sometimes misunderstandings may happen. That is the reason why you should rather ask – instead of answering your counterpart by interpreting what they said.


  1. Say Thank You

This may be difficult for you, but you should definitely thank them for the feedback. A thank you does not automatically mean that you agree with their point of view, it shows respect for the person who took the time to give you feedback. When you say thank you, don’t overdo it: You don’t have to be overly apologetic when you thank them. Acknowledge their feedback and maintain a sincere attitude. This will ensure you show up with confidence even in a difficult situation. 


  1. See Criticism as Help

Remember that all constructive feedback (including negative feedback) is a sign of interest and a sign that people want to help you do better. It would be far worse for people to notice you doing bad work and not say a word. Now is the time to look into the feedback. Even if you don’t agree with every part of the feedback, don’t get caught up in the discussion. Acknowledge the parts that you can agree on and try to work on solutions. Ask for specific examples so that you can understand the other person’s point of view. It is always wise to also ask for suggestions and ideas in order to be able to approach the matter differently in the future.


Constructive criticism is a great way to identify and work on your own weaknesses. If you immediately take a defensive position, you may lose important feedback that could help you. 

The way we deal with negative feedback can either harm our career or accelerate it. Contact us and allow us to coach you through your next career step and offer you valuable feedback that will help you excel and stand out. 


Email: LynseyBrennan@esginc.com 


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How to Decode Company Culture During the Remote Interview Process?

When assessing whether or not a job is a good fit for you, there are a number of things you need to consider. You need a salary that matches your expectations, responsibilities that appeal to you, and a manager who you think you can work well with. But there is another important factor that carries a lot of weight: the corporate culture. The work environment has a major influence on the way you work and how satisfied you are in your new job. Understanding the corporate culture is important because you not only want to join a company in which you want to work, but also one in which you can thrive. Corporate culture is difficult to assess during the hiring process – and even more so when that hiring process takes place remotely.

What if all of your job interviews are video chats and you don’t meet anyone from the company in person or ever walk into the office? Is there a corporate culture at all if the employees don’t work side by side? Understanding corporate culture from a distance adds an additional layer of complexity to the hiring process. 

What should you look out for when assessing the company culture when you interview? Here are five tips to help you understand and evaluate the corporate culture before accepting a job offer – even if it’s unlikely that you will enter the office anytime soon.

  1. Visualize

You likely have a list of must-haves to look for in your next position. This includes not only the most important factors such as salary and social benefits, but also the values ​​that the company should prioritize and the cultural aspects that you agree with. This preparatory work is especially important if you are going through the application process remotely. 

Trying to understand every aspect of corporate culture through video chat and internet research alone may feel impossible. So if you focus on what is most important to you, you can check a few things off your list. Reduce your expectations to three non-negotiables. This allows you to focus on deciphering cultural clues related to your three most important values.

  1. Research

Once you know what specific cultural elements you want your new business to have, it’s time to do your research. A remote hiring process can leave you feeling disadvantaged, but it doesn’t have to be. You have numerous resources to understand the inner workings of the team and the atmosphere of a company. In addition, many of the research techniques you use during a “typical” hiring process are still applicable. 

You can browse online resources:

Website: Take a close look at the company’s website to understand how it describes its culture externally. 

Blog: The company may have posted relevant content that will allow you a behind-the-scenes look at the company.

Social media: Here you can assess the overall tone “the company” interacts with.

LinkedIn: Profiles on LinkedIn contain information from (former) employees who not only say a lot about their personal experiences, but also about the overarching cultural values ​​of the company.

Employee Reviews: Platforms on which previous, current, or potential employees post reviews can also highlight some elements of corporate culture. 

There is no shortage of resources to sift through. Make sure to take into account the non-negotiable items that you identified beforehand. You can even use keywords in your search to make this process even easier. Search a company’s reviews for keywords like “remote” or “values” to filter out the employee experience.

  1. Connect

Nobody has a better insight into the corporate culture than the employees who work or have worked there. When you get in touch with current and / or former team members, you get a look behind the scenes.

You can ask the person leading your hiring process if they can introduce you to some of the employees. They may be ready to answer a few questions about corporate culture for you. Not only does it show your interest in the company, but also that you are someone who takes initiative. If you’d rather not contact the hiring manager directly about this, you can use LinkedIn to search for current and former employees in the department you want to join. Network with these people and politely ask them if they would answer any questions you might have about the company.

  1. Ask

At the end of the interview, you should have the opportunity to ask questions. This is your chance to ask directly about the aspects that are most important to you. Don’t ask general questions like “tell me about your company culture”. For questions like this you will only be referred to some scripts and brochures. Instead, ask questions that give you a real feel for the environment and the people you may interact with on a regular basis. Return to the cultural qualities that you identified as important to you and address those specific traits. 

Remember, asking questions at the end of the interview isn’t just a chance for you to look good and demonstrate your commitment to the hiring process. It’s also a way to get valuable information that you need to make an informed decision about whether or not to work there.

  1. Observe

Ultimately, the hiring process should give you some insight into how the company treats not only its applicants, but its employees as well. How they approach the process can also be an indication of how they deal with all other matters.

Some things worth observing during the remote hiring process are:

Organization: When the hiring process is disorganized and full of misunderstandings and frustrations, work in the company can be the same. 

Communication: The interview process is also an opportunity to assess the company’s communication skills. What tools did you use? How did the communication with you come about? 

Work-life balance: Do you receive emails from a hiring manager in the middle of the night? Or at the weekend? This could be an indicator that their culture is not prioritizing downtime. Keep in mind, however, that one of the potential benefits of working remotely is control over your schedule, which means that employees may actually prefer to work at this time and appreciate that flexibility. 

Always keep in mind that the hiring process for a company is a direct reflection of their values ​​and approach to work. Understanding the company culture before actually working there is a challenge – especially if the hiring process or the job itself is remote. Because the company culture shapes so much of the employee experience – it is well worth the effort understanding it.

Are you still looking for a job? Here you can find our latest job opportunities.

5 Interview Mistakes You Never Knew You Were Making

Tired of going to interviews? Wonder why you didn’t get the job?

After all, it seemed like you did everything right.

You did your research on the company and delivered a great pitch. The recruiter was excited about your skills and everything seemed to go smoothly.

The question is: what went wrong?

It takes just 90 seconds for a recruiter to figure out if you’re a good fit for the job.

Common mistakes, such as not making eye contact, can ruin your chances of getting hired. The recruiter could say “no” simply because you’re playing with your hair.

You have less than two minutes to make a great first impression.

So, what’s the secret to landing your dream job?

First of all, make sure you’re not making these interview mistakes!

1. Not Smiling

Believe it or not, a fake smile may cost you the job.

If you’re smiling mechanically or not smiling at all, the recruiter might see it as a lack of enthusiasm.

Body language accounts for up to 90 percent of how we communicate.

A warm smile can go a long way towards showing your personality and confidence. It also shows your ability to connect with people and reduces tension during interviews.

Conversely, a fake smile can be off-putting. It may seem like you’re trying to mask negative emotions.

The best advice here?

Relax and remember that the recruiter is a human being just like you.

2. Crossing Your Arms

Crossed arms are a sign of resistance and defensiveness.

The hiring manager might believe that you’re lacking enthusiasm or trying to mask insecurities. This gesture is also often interpreted as a symbol of uncertainty and disengagement.

For the best reaction, simply place your hands on the desk or on the arms of your chair.

3. Bashing Your Former Employer

Just because you’ve previously had the worst boss ever, that doesn’t mean you should mention it!

If you’ve had issues with your previous employer, keep it to yourself.

Your potential new boss will not like to hear you bad-mouth your old one!

Use positive or neutral language when talking about former employers and try to put a positive spin on your experiences.

4. Not Having Any Questions

When asked if you have any questions, your answer helps reveal the way you think.

Refrain from asking questions about salary, raises, or vacation during a job interview and instead show your interest in the role.

Ask questions like…

  • What does a typical day at the office look like?
  • What are the company’s goals for the next year?
  • How would you describe the work-life balance of a typical employee?

Asking the right questions will give the opportunity to further highlight your skills. Not having any questions is one of the worst interview mistakes you can make.

5. Not Standing Out

Hiring managers interview dozens of people before filling a position. How will you stand out?

Originality is key.

Give the recruiter a reason to choose you

Tell a story that relates to your career path. Share experiences that prove your skills and ability to succeed.

But, most of all? Be yourself.

How to Avoid the Most Common Interview Mistakes

The best way to avoid common interview mistakes is great preparation. Research the company and the job requirements.

Show up looking businesslike and professional.

Speak confidently and back up your claims with facts. Use body language to your advantage.

And remember, that more often than not, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

What are the worst interview mistakes you’ve made so far? If you could start over, what would you do differently?