So you landed your big interview...

How to give negative feedback: Black woman throwing her hands up and smiling happily.

So far everything is going well! You and your interviewer are hitting things off. Then boom! Your interviewer asks:

"Tell me about a time you had to give someone difficult feedback. How did you handle it?"

You're probably thinking...this interview question is too much to handle.

How to give negative feedback: Oprah moving her hands up and down in discomfort.

Don't worry! A technique called the "sandwich method" will help you nail this question.

What Is The Interviewer Looking For?

Flaticon Icon When interviewers ask this question, they are trying to assess:

  • Your ability to address issues in the workplace

  • Your ability to motivate others through challenges

  • The effectiveness of your communication skills

The Sandwich Method

Follow the "sandwich method" to give feedback:

  1. Begin with something positive

  2. Proceed to the negative feedback

  3. End with something positive

Positive = the bread

Negative = the meat and cheese

Sandwich with meat, cheese, and lettuce. Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash


When answering interview questions about giving feedback, you should avoid speaking negatively about the person you gave feedback to.

Things To Avoid

Flaticon Icon

  • Being too vague

  • Toning down feedback

  • Showing that you're uncomfortable giving feedback

  • Choosing scenarios that most people would find easy to handle

Interview Answer Example

Samuel L Jackson riding in the car saying


Your coworker delivered a report early, but it was full of errors.

Interview Answer

Flaticon Icon Begin with something positive

"I told the staff member that I appreciated her completing the report before the deadline."

Flaticon Icon Proceed to the negative feedback

"I showed her a copy of her errors on the report. I told her that it would be helpful for her to take a little more time to check for errors so she could spend less time on corrections after the deadline."

Flaticon Icon End with something positive

"The next month, I saw fewer errors on her reports and complimented her progress and dedication to the team!"

Take Action

Animation character that says

Take a deep breath and relax!

Now go nail your interview!


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