Feedback Is A Gift

Feedback is a gift. Use it to improve your life and perspective.

letters carved using wood
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Rejection is a hard thing to accept. Rejection without knowing what the cause was leaves you never to not understand what you could have done differently. If you are lucky enough to receive feedback at the same time as the answer is “no” to hiring you then take what is being said and examine it for growth opportunities.

It takes courage to share your rejection with others. It takes time and effort to give someone feedback when they don’t fit your company. Some might even say that you are brave enough to write a blog post about it. Well, Sharon and I have been pretty open on this platform with our lives. We include our wins and our losses. Our relationships both professionally and personally.

So it seems pretty natural that I would share my insights with you about rejection and feedback.

I was given feedback on my interview journey with a company on a job I didn’t get. How can I use this information to improve my professional skills and get better at communication and listening?

I am going to share the details with you, in hopes that you may find some commonality in your own struggles and benefit from using it as a gift.

Here is what I was told about myself or the perception of me as I went through the interview process.

  1. After a presentation to a team that would have been my fellow peers, the feedback was that I was passionate but I didn’t share anything that they could use about the topic.
  2. The hiring person thought I would be bored after 6 months if I was the successful candidate.

Ok, there we have it. Two gifts, now what to do with the information given?

Let’s break down the first comment:

One of the number one foundations of instructional design is to know your audience.

That can be a bit trickier if you have no way of asking ahead of time the knowledge level or the background of the participants. It can be overcome though. You have to ensure that the content covers the lowest denominator and then stays about in the middle of the skill set. I missed the mark here and assumed too much about my audience.

There are further challenges when you have to decide what to present in a 15 minute window.

Which is better though? I think taking the time to add details and assuming your participants know nothing about what you are presenting is a safe bet. If you lose your audience quickly by talking in a different language than they are, you fail to make your points understood. So using KISS- Keep IT Simple Stupid is better than the alternative.

Less passion? Is that what is meant by saying I am very passionate? Do I come across more animated than I should? Talk too fast, too much?  Maybe, or it could be I missed the mark in using WAIT-Why Am I Talking? I missed some opportunities as I reflect on the group interview now. If I had it to do over again I would have simplified the key points to maybe one or two. Then asked more questions about what  the group would have done. Hindsight right? If statistics are right I could get a lot of practice at this by applying for 15 jobs a week. At this stage of my life I am not sure I am THAT Passionate….lol.

I would get bored within 6 months

This comment is harder to decipher. What do you do with that? 

I can take it many ways…

  • Polite way of saying over qualified or too expensive 
  • I come across as arrogant in my skills and knowledge without meaning too
  • This company undervalues change or growth opportunities
  • Being with another company for over 30 years doesn’t show patience or loyalty

As you can tell I am still contemplating this feedback and what I am to learn from it.

So now that I have this gift of feedback, what are my next steps?

The first step was to write about it here to help me see it, read it and unpack it. The next step is to remember it. Watch and listen for cues that it is happening with other interviews I am lucky enough to encounter.

The key is that feedback is truly a gift. An opportunity to reflect on your behavior through someone else’s eyes. If you receive it, thank the person or company. Have others given you this feedback before? If yes, are you getting better or worse as you try to change your muscle memory? Take the opportunity to break it down into segments you can review then come up with a strategy. Record your progress so you can look back and hopefully see a positive change.

My job search continues with a new set of tools to practice with based on the feedback.

Wish me luck and if you can, please share your feedback with me.

We both learn and thrive this way and will use your feedback to help myself and anyone else interested in learning from it.

The Waiting Game

brown wooden framed hour glass
Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

I have applied for a few jobs and even had the luck to get interviews. I was trying to figure out the other day a ratio between how many jobs you should apply for before you should wait for responses? Well being curious I “Googled it”. According to experts you should apply for 2-3 jobs per day up to 15 a week. Holy that’s a lot I am thinking. If you apply for too many it goes on to say that you might not look credible. You may even be overlooked in the future for a job with a company that is a perfect fit. 

I am now down the rabbit hole exploring how many jobs to put on a resume, how many skills to list and what education to include. Cover letter or not to cover letter, what determines this?

On the number of jobs to list on the resume, the consensus is to go back 10-15 years if you can. This will help you decide the jobs to include. Highlight ones that relate to the position you are applying for. That makes sense to me. I would caution against applying for too many jobs as quite a few ask you what you know about their company. If you can’t articulate anything you may be passed on. How many mission statements, business goals or strategies can you remember?

The same logic goes for skills to list. Make sure they are relevant to the posting. I want to share my love of bonsai tools but if I am applying for an instructional designer, potential employers might not care about that. If I want to show diversity in interests I might include it in my hobbies. Does anyone put hobbies on their resume (CV) anymore? Does anyone call it a resume anymore?

How long should you wait for a response to your application? I turn to Google once more for advice. Statistics say wait 10 to 14 business days. That makes sense and seems like good advice. Let’s play a game of counting, if you applied for 3 jobs a day and up to 15 a week. Keep that up for 4 weeks. How long could you potentially be waiting for a job offer???

Short answer is a long time. I am in a position to wait I suppose as I have other sources of income I can draw on. I think of it as a bit of an adventure in which I am curiously exploring and then recording what happens along the way. The great thing about advice you find on the internet is you can take it or leave it.

There are parts of the process not mentioned in the applying and connecting ratio that I think are critical to my search. Call it maturity or call it having the means to be selective, either way I have time and patience to explore “best fit scenario”. I am trying to apply to companies that I believe can offer something that enhances what they are looking for or doing in the near future. It has to be worth the wait for both parties and it will enhance the experience in the long term. It’s very tempting to start your own company. I struggle with narrowing down my interests enough to find something viable and profitable.

In the meantime, I am learning new skills, polishing old ones, doing a bit of exploration as to what’s trending. My bonsai tools are being sharpened just in case they are needed. I bought a Cricut so I can make t-shirts that can capture my mood while I wait. You have to maintain a sense of humor and have a jar of patience kept warm. I am nowhere near the 15 job applications this week or this month so I better get busy.

Wish me luck!

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