Careers and Enterprise Blog

Transferable Skills series- providing feedback


Transferable Skills series- providing feedback

Transferable skills series

How would you rate your service today? How is my driving? How would you rate your recent purchase? Would you recommend us to a friend? What do you think of your experience at CCCU?

Everyone wants feedback nowadays. Retailers want it to know about their products. Bars and restaurants want it to know about their service. Airbnb and Uber want to understand how their business model is working and universities are ranked on student feedback. Events and destinations can’t exist without positive reviews and Influencers are paid to give them.  In a time when one bad review can make a huge difference to a business, and when 5-star reviews are commonplace, we thought we’d look at the process of providing that feedback.  And then we’d ask for yours.   

Over the course of your career you will inevitably GET feedback – maybe from an interview that didn’t go too well, in an annual appraisal, or when you are presenting to clients and staff – but you will need to GIVE feedback too. Initially this may be feedback on how you found your recruitment process; it might be as part of 360 degree evaluation of your manager; it might be about the quality of the biscuits at a meeting. Giving feedback is a skill that can be improved and developed and it is definitely something worth learning and practising.

Here are some ideas to make that feedback as meaningful as possible for the person that needs, or wants, to know. 

Four key things to consider:

  • Think why they are asking. After an unsuccessful interview you will ask for feedback because you want to know what you did wrong, or why you were unsuitable. Did you give enough or too much detail? Did you dress appropriately? What did someone else do or show the interviewer that you didn’t? 

When you are asked to give feedback, try and relate the comments you give to this need to know – are they asking whether there should BE biscuits at the meeting and whether they helped the customers feel valued, or are they asking if you like Digestives? Understanding the point, and why they are asking can help your responses be meaningful and relevant.

  • Be honest – but try and be kind.  Feedback that says everything is ‘fine’, isn’t very helpful – how do I look in this dress? “Fine!”. Feedback that destroys you isn’t either, “how do I look in this dress?” “You look like a retired Victorian schoolteacher and it shows up your weird kneecaps” – not good either!

The value of providing useful, and usable, feedback comes from being truthful; letting people know what they could improve upon or what needs to change, but not to just dismiss/belittle or insult what is there or what they can’t do anything about.  Build upon what they have as a foundation for improvement. 

There are of course exceptions to this. A terrible tattoo artist who can’t spell, needs to know they are in the wrong job, and if someone or something is out of order, sexist, racist or just plain offensive, then feel free to be as blunt as you like. This type of feedback needs to be completely forthright – it needs to be called out, without spite, but definitely without wriggle-room!

  • Be specific.  ‘You didn’t really answer things very well’, in response to a request for interview feedback won’t really help you improve or prepare better next time.  So, avoid generalised statements that have no real meaning.  Try and unpick what could have been better – was the candidate not speaking clearly, or were the responses too high level, too long, too boring – did they not know their subject, did they miss the point, or did they go into too much detail? The more meaningful you can make your identification of things, the easier they can be addressed.
  • Be constructive and be positive – look for seeds not weeds. Even if something is pretty dreadful, try and find things that they can build upon – we’ve all probably been to see a terrible band – were they that bad, of just not your taste in music?  Was the venue good? Was the set beautifully designed? Was the drummer amazing? The sound system? The warm-up act?  Was it Ok until the singer started? Everyone is a critic nowadays, so try and help people improve – feedback can be about what you can do more of, as well as what you can do less of! 

So, now is your chance – tell us in the CCCU Careers Team what we can do better? 

What do we do that you value and like? 

What should we be doing that we are not? 

Do we communicate with you in the right way?

Is what you want happening when and where you want it? 

We have a huge library of online resources to draw upon; we have practical and automated tools to help you write a fabulous CV and accompany it with a stunning cover letter; we have workshops running every week; we offer a Microsoft certification that is paid for by us and valued by employers; we have 1-1 meetings to give you information and guidance about your career choices and much, much more.  But we always want to know if it is meeting what you want and need. 

So, tell us. 

We will listen, and we will improve as a direct result.

We know you are busy people so just click on this link to help you do just that – the feedback is anonymous, and we read everything that is sent to us.  So tell us and you’ll be helping to make things better – both for current students and the CCCU alumni that can access our services for three years after graduation; that might just be you. 

Alas there won’t be biscuits, but please feel free to suggest that and we’ll see what we can do!

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