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How To Answer Questions About Conflict In An Interview

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It is vital to celebrate diversity in the workplace. Most companies today feature a multi-cultural workforce that consists of people with different religions, political affiliations and beliefs, so an employee who accepts and aims to learn about differences in others’ backgrounds is far more likely to make a great team member.

Example:I love to inform myself about different cultures, opinions and perspectives. I deeply appreciate the beauty diversity brings to the world, and I am always seeking to learn more about how to inform myself about and support other communities.

Video: Top Interview Tips: Common Questions, Body Language & More

In this video, we dissect an entire job interview from start to finish. We analyze everything from common interview questions to etiquette and how to follow up.

Example For A Web Designer

Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker and how you resolved it.

At ABC Company, I was assigned a task by a member of the engineering department. He needed help from me and one other member of the marketing team to finish a web page design. Unfortunately, his deadline expectations were unrealistic for us.

So, I asked to get together with him for lunch. I walked him through the steps that we were taking to ensure the project was done accurately.

Once we had the chance to learn about each others processes, we had a much better understanding of the timeframes that were realistic. We agreed on a doable timeframe that would help us both meet our goals.

Have You Ever Disagreed With Your Manager

Now, this one is among the trickiest conflict resolution interview questions as it deals directly with conflicts with your superiors.

Naturally, you would want to answer it very carefully as the question deals with power dynamics in the workplace.

Here are a few examples that you can use as inspiration.

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How To Answer Conflict Interview Questions

Questions about conflict can catch you off-guard, as nobody likes to talk about conflict at work. Plus, youd probably prefer to pretend that you are an absolute delight to work with and that nobody has ever had an unkind word to say about you.

But youll have to talk about a less-than-delightful situation. It can be difficult to come up with a good example on the fly and even more difficult to describe a conflict concisely and in a way that presents you in a favorable light.

This is why its important to prepare an example in advance using the STAR format.

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results. It tells a story from beginning to end and showcases your competencies.

In the Situation part, youll want to set the context, which is, in this case, a conflict involving you and other people. Task is there for communicating what you had to do find a way to successfully resolve the conflict. Action is describing how exactly you did it, and Results, well its clear. Pro tip: let the Action part take up 60-80% of the answer. This is because recruiters want to know every detail about how you completed your task, how you communicated, which strategies you used, and similar.

For a detailed answer and strong storytelling, we also recommend jotting down key points and then practicing.

In our software Big Interview, weve developed a tool specifically for building your STAR interview answers. We call it the Answer Builder.

How Do You Handle Disagreements When Working As Part Of A Team Provide An Example

Answering Behavioral Interview Questions: Handling Conflict

When working on a team, conflict may arise between different people at any time. Your response to this question can demonstrate your ability to collaborate effectively with a variety of working styles.

When answering this question, explain how you respond to disagreements between multiple people and how you work to resolve them to accomplish the team goals. Provide an example from your experience that illustrates how you handle disagreements between team members. Try using the STAR method to form a thorough response.

Example: In my previous experience, I was working with a group to prepare a presentation for leadership. The group was responsible for conceptualizing an idea and presenting a project plan to implement the idea. We selected an idea and developed an action plan for completing the presentation. Two of the team members wanted to hold daily meetings to discuss the plan and progress. Other team members, including myself, disagreed with this approach because the team had a log to report task progress and completion.

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Conflict Interview Questions And Answers

Conflict interview questions are questions designed to assess how you respond to and resolve conflict in the workplace. Employers ask these questions to get an idea of how well you manage stress, as well as your ability to professionally and respectfully resolve conflict with others.

Following are five questions about conflict that an interviewer may ask:

  • How do you handle conflict?

  • Explain a situation when you had a conflict at work and how you handled it.

  • How do you handle disagreements when working as part of a team? Provide an example.

  • Explain a situation when you disagreed with your boss and how you handled it.

  • Explain a situation when you disagreed with a rule or policy and how you handled it.

  • Ensure You Answer The Question

    Avoid the temptation of saying you’ve never encountered any conflict. This is why it’s necessary to prepare because you have enough time to think about and remember the conflicts and how you managed them. Also, avoid mentioning conflict you didn’t handle well as the information serves no purpose either to you or the interviewer. They only want to know how well you can work with people, handle disagreements and find a way to resolve issues and work together again productively.

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    Questions The Interviewer Wants Answers To

    During a job interview, the interviewer is trying to assess how you respond to conflict situations. These type of interview questions are frequently asked during interviews because all employers want to hire good team players. Often interviewers ask you about your team experiences in previous jobs and follow-up with specifically asking about situations that involved a conflict situation or a difficult/complicated person. So, how do you think you handle conflicts?

    • Are you a person that tries to avoid conflicts at all costs?
    • Or are you a person who pretends there is no conflict and just ignores the situation?
    • Are you a person who just goes with the flow and is more accommodating?
    • Or are you a person that sees conflict as an opportunity to compromise and collaborate?

    The interviewer is interested in your specific approach to conflict situations and how you handled them in the past. Through these interview questions, they want to find out how you react in certain work situations. Think of questions such as:

    • Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
    • Do you prefer to work as part of a team or alone? Can you explain why?

    Behavioral job interview questions usually start with:

    • Tell me about a time when you
    • Describe situations where
    • Give me an example of
    • What do you do when

    Q5 Tell Us About A Time When You Disagreed With A Team/company Policy Or Rule How Did You Handle The Situation

    CONFLICT-RESOLUTION Interview Questions & ANSWERS!

    Disagreeing with a team or company policy can sometimes be distracting and impact performance at work. The important thing to do in a situation like this is to speak your mind out.

    In my previous company, my manager often worked late and expected that everyone in the team also stayed and worked long hours, regardless of the workload. This is something that not just me but other team members also disagreed with. We had to make our manager understand that this was taking a toll on us.

    We got together, approached our manager, and made our concerns clear. We drove the dialogue through reason and made him understand that staying long hours isnât a direct indication of our commitment to projects. It ended well, with our manager understanding our concern.

    These answers to commonly asked conflict interview questions will help you get a good idea of what to expect at behavioral interviews. The sample answers will help you understand the best way to answer these conflict interview questions and ace behavioral interviews at top companies.

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    How To Discuss The Process Of Conflict Resolution In Your Answers

    When youre structuring your answers about conflict resolution, its important that you highlight that you possess certain important skills. Below we discuss how you can resolve conflicts in logical steps. You can use these to your advantage in your answers, depending on what you think the interviewer is looking for based on the job description and company culture. Below you can find the steps that you can use to resolve conflict situations in the workplace.

    Conflict With Your Supervisors

    Conflict with your supervisor will demonstrate how you handle tense situations with those above you and if you can follow orders when necessary. Stories like this can be few, but can give your interviewers key insight on how you work with supervisors. Answer this question with the following tips in mind:

    • Don’t make any negative remarks about your supervisor. Even if you were the correct person in the conflict, don’t state that you knew your supervisor was wrong. Instead, explain the situation and how it was resolved to the satisfaction of all of those involved.
    • Explain why you felt you were correct in the conflict. This isn’t the same as making negative remarks. Just don’t simply state your supervisor wasn’t following policy. Explain what you felt the ramifications were and why you felt the need to bring it up.
    • If your supervisor ordered you to do something, even if it was incorrect, explain the situation fully. This will demonstrate you will follow orders even if you knew your supervisor was incorrect. If you went to someone above your supervisor, explain that as well to show you took the necessary steps to ensure the task was done correctly.

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    Why Do Employers Ask Interview Questions About Failure

    The main reason employers ask interview questions focused on failure isnt to trap you. They just want to find out if youre adaptable and how you confront challenges.

    Tell me about a time you failed is also frequently phrased as a behavioral interview question, and is used to get a better idea of how youve handled failure in the past.

    For example, many interviewers will use a variation of this question like describe a time when you failed and how you overcame it because they want to know if you can own your mistakes, learn from your failures, and improve.

    Admittedly, its easy to freeze up when asked a question focused on a negative part of your career. How do you describe a time you failed without looking bad?

    Luckily, answering this question is not as daunting as it might seem. With enough preparation, you can learn how to present a perfect answer to the interview question.

    An Example Answer About A Deadline Conflict

    3 Steps to Describe a Challenge or Conflict You Overcame

    As a finance assistant, Im in charge of putting together reports for potential company investments. One time, my boss asked me to generate a new report on a Wednesday morning and wanted it done by Thursday at 5 PM. Due to the amount of work involved, and wanting the report to be accurate, I knew thered be no way I could finish the report on time. Because Im committed to high-quality work and I wasnt sure my boss fully understood what goes into each report, I knew I needed to speak up. I decided to approach my boss about the impossible timeline.

    At her next available opening, I sat down with my boss and explained my concerns, telling her it wouldnt be possible, even if I stayed late that night. But my boss insisted that the deadline was non-negotiable. I knew that the investment committee was meeting on Friday, so I understood the pressure my boss was under. So I decided to switch gears and ask my boss if there was anyone who could help me with the report. She found another assistant who could put in a few hours and we worked together to get the report done on time to the high standard I always deliver.

    The committee was really pleased to be able to review the report at the meeting. My boss was happy we got it done, and appreciated my extra efforts to make it happen. I felt good that I hadnt let the quality of the report slip. And once I explained how much time and work goes into each report, my boss was careful to assign them further in advance after that.

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    Get Specific About Your Actions For Conflict Resolution

    • The most memorable and compelling stories include enough detail to paint a picture. Show why this conflict was important and that you handled it capably.
    • However, you must make an effort to keep the story concise. Its very easy to go off on tangents . Keep it focused.
    • Stick to bullet points. Dont try to memorize a script.

    Talk About A Time You Encountered A Conflict With A Customer

      How to Answer

      Customer-related conflict can be a common occurrence, especially if you work in a service-based role in sales or a retail environment. The interviewer wants to know that you can handle stressful or uncomfortable situations with a client and focus on problem-solving. Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with ‘Tell me about a time…’ are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.Briefly describe a time when you resolved a customer-related conflict. Highlight your ability to remain patient and rational. Avoid examples where you were the one that caused the conflict. Focus the bulk of your response on how you approached a solution rather than dwelling on the problem. Assure the interviewer that you are a professional who is well-equipped to problem-solve in a customer-facing environment.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on September 5th, 2021

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    Involve Everybody To Agree To Find A Solution To The Conflict

    Once everybody agrees that theres an issue everyone involved should also agree that this problem needs to be resolved. If youre the mediator in the conflict resolution process and one or more participants is not ready to discuss the conflict, its best to take them aside to talk to them. Find out why they feel a certain way and how you can encourage them to participate actively in the resolution process.

    How Do You Feel About A Chain Of Command In The Workplace

    How To Answer: Interview Questions On Resolving Conflict

      How to Answer

      Most businesses to maintain organizational effectiveness require a precise distribution of leadership, responsibilities, and accountabilities. Understanding the importance of hierarchy in the workplace shows maturity and an understanding of how most companies operate. The way you answer this question will show your willingness to be a good team player who respects the organizational makeup of the company and avoids creating unnecessary conflict with your leaders.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on September 5th, 2021

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    How Do You Deal With Differences Of Opinion When Working On A Team

    In my last job, I worked as part of a team to prepare a presentation for a new client. There was a disagreement within the team about how best to approach this task. Some people wanted to hold daily meetings, whereas the others, including myself, thought there was no need for this because we had a log in which we could easily report and track our progress. I felt that the other approach would take up too much valuable time.

    Rather than get into an argument, we all got together so everyone got a chance to explain their reasoning for their side. Eventually, we reached a comprise and decided to hold a short daily meeting of no more than ten minutes so all team members could keep up to date with how the presentation was progressing.

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    Why Do Interviewers Ask About Workplace Conflict

    The quality of our lives depends not on whether or not we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them. Thomas Crum

    Most professionals will encounter conflict at some point in their working lives. While workplace conflict can be unpleasant and stressful to deal with, it offers a major learning opportunity and is a good test of interpersonal skills. As such, how a candidate answers the question how do you manage conflict at work can reveal a lot of useful information about their skills and personality.

    From a positive standpoint, the candidates response could indicate strong skills in communication and conflict resolution, empathy, a willingness to compromise and level-headedness. Conversely, their answer may also reveal weak communication and interpersonal skills, egotism, poor emotional regulation, and general unprofessionalism. These are valuable insights that allow the interviewer to assess how well the candidate would fit within their team and the wider company culture.

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