how to recover from negative feedback like a pro

No one likes receiving negative feedback. And if you’re new to it can hurt your chances at being hired for future jobs. But a negative review does not signal the end of your career. In fact, understanding where you have room to improve from an outside perspective can guide you to be more successful.

There are several ways you can handle negative feedback in a constructive manner:

Decide Whether It’s Valid

Feedback is merely someone’s perception of you. You get to decide how accurate and meaningful it is. Whether you act on feedback or ignore it is up to you. Sometimes negative feedback is warranted, but sometimes it isn’t.

Is it valid? Fix it. Contact the employer and express sincere regret, and explain that you take his or her feedback very seriously. Ask whether you can make things right. Consider offering a partial refund, or offer to re-do the piece of work. If they agree and end up being happy with the results, ask them to provide you with a testimonial to counter their negative feedback. Who knows — they may be so impressed with your efforts that they end up hiring you again or recommending you in the future.

Is it wrong? Block it. You can block feedback at any time as long as you have enough blocking power. Blocked feedback will not show on your profile and will not be factored into any of your profile stats.

Leave Feedback

You have the right to rate and review your experience working with an employer. Explain your perspective, avoiding whiny or defensive language. For example: “The employer was unclear on the exact job they needed done, and was slow to respond. Lesson learned: Next time I need to set an agreement up at the beginning detailing expectations.”

Move Forward

Once you have done all you can to lessen the impact of the negative feedback, you still have to land your next job.

Grow from it. If the negative feedback was valid, learn from your mistakes. Figure out how you can prevent doing the same things again in the future to avoid such negative feedback. Safeguard yourself up front with an agreement to help set your and the employer’s expectations up front.

Get more feedback. Go to your current employers if you have any ongoing jobs, and ask them to leave you feedback. They can leave you feedback each time they pay a new invoice. You can also seek out new jobs you can complete quickly to boost your feedback score.

Explain it. If you feel the need, you can address the negative feedback in your profile or in your quotes. Realize that employers might get suspicious if you are defensive and full of excuses. Instead, stay professional and simply state that you’ll be happy to explain what happened and how you’re making sure it doesn’t happen again.

Feedback is a big part of your reputation on Guru, but one bad review shouldn’t paralyze you. If you take accountability and learn how you can avoid future incidents, it can be merely a bump in the road to success.

Sound off! Tell us how you made a comeback from bad feedback in the comments below.

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  1. Anthonyk747

    Actually, here’s something probably not considered. Even though Guru has a lovely “blocking power” feature for blocking negative feedback (no other site has this, to my knowledge), I believe that most people on here have a lot less of a chance to receive negative feedback, on the condition that they use their bids wisely and treat themselves with the true price that they’re worth! Bidding less than $8/hour or $25 per job will bring in nasty, rude, and hypocritical employers that simply… don’t care about your well being or anything other than their money!

    So, I have YET to receive any negative feedback for my profile on this website, but… on the flip-side, I also haven’t received many employers from this site.

  2. A Mandaliya

    Why don’t you offer freelancers an opportunity (it could be paid) to have your mediation and arbitration department review details and put ‘Admin’ remarks in favor of freelancer, if negative feedback is wrong.

    • Ace Freelancer

      Apparently the new feedback system does just that; admin will take action on a negative feedback. Your voice has been heard after 2 long years.

  3. Jayant Ahuja

    I have worked on very selective projects on Guru and a big reason behind it is that most of the good employers seek your performance only at Guru which makes it hard for newcomer to break the ice and others are simply those who want to treat you like slaves and expect you to be honored to work on peanuts they offer.
    I would suggest not to work for second kind of people mentioned here. You may think of them as portfolio building jobs but they are only going to end up ruining it for you. Stay away from them as much as possible and work good for decent clients and you will hardly get any negative feedback.


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