During my job search I had many interviews and I remember one specific interviewer asking me to tell him about a time when I had to mentor and provide feedback to someone who wasn’t performing to standards. Great question…and I could have chosen from multiple scenarios…but I chose this one and I’ll try and summarize.

I stated that I started with an initial feedback providing my expectations and in turn asked the individual their expectations of me. Normally, I would provide another formal mid-term feedback at the 6-month mark, but this individual required some feedback within 2 months. When asked how they thought they were performing…they thought they were exceeding expectations and I proceeded to let them know they were not and provided some guidance on why and recommendations on how to improve. A couple of weeks later another sit down was required…still not meeting expectations. Within my feedbacks were feedbacks from within their leadership also. Then a follow-up question was asked by the interviewer…how did you mentor this individual back to the road to success?

I told them, I didn’t, I wish I could tell you that I did. I pride myself in being able to “fix” folks that are struggling but not every story has a happy ending. There are times when an individual has reached their limitations but moving up isn’t in the cards. In this particular situation, this individual probably didn’t receive honest feedback from prior leadership and was pushed into positions before they were ready…and was set-up for failure.

I could have chosen a lot of scenarios when asked this question…but I like this one. There are many lessons to learn here…providing good feedback, setting folks up for success and/or failure, being honest with people, setting expectations…you name it. Ask yourself the same 2 questions that I was asked and think how you would answer that question today if you were asked. Have a great day!

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