Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work and how you resolved it.
- 1 Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work and how you resolved it.
- 2 Other interview questions that are similar
- 3 What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
- 4 How Best To Structure Your Answer To This Question
- 5 What You Should NOT Do When Answering Questions
- 6 Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work and how you resolved it. – Example answers
- 7 Other Interview Question and Answers
Other interview questions that are similar
- Can you describe an instance where you disagreed with a colleague on a project and how you reached a mutual agreement?
- Share an experience where you had to handle a challenging situation with a team member. How did you approach it?
- Have you ever faced a situation at work where you had to mediate a dispute between coworkers? What was your role in resolving it?
- Tell us about a time when you received criticism from a supervisor or peer. How did you respond and what was the outcome?
- Can you give an example of a time when you had to adapt to a significant change in your team or project? How did you manage it?
- Describe a scenario where you had to persuade a reluctant team member to accept a new idea or approach. What strategies did you use?
- Have you ever encountered a breakdown in communication within your team? How did you identify and address the issue?
What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
There are probably an infinite number of questions that the interviewer could ask you on the day. Some questions are incredibly common appearing in almost every interview you will have, while other questions you might hear once and never again regardless of how many jobs you apply for.
Fundamentally though all interview questions are really trying to find out one of 3 things:
1 – Can you do the job? (Do you have the skills/experience needed?)
2 – Will you do the job? (Do you have the drive/motivation to get the job done?)
3 – Will you fit in? (Does your personality match the workplace culture? Are you likeable?)
That’s it. Those are the 3 things that the interviewer is trying to ascertain. Every question that is asked of you will fundamentally be trying to resolve one (or more) of these 3 things.
The question, “Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work and how you resolved it,” targets all three key interview objectives. It tests your skills and experience in handling workplace issues (Can you do the job?), your approach and dedication to resolving conflicts (Will you do the job?), and your interpersonal style, indicating if you’ll blend well with the team (Will you fit in?). This single question is a concise way for interviewers to gauge your overall suitability for the role.
How Best To Structure Your Answer To This Question
Unless the question you are asked is a straight ‘up or down / yes or no’ style question then you are going to need to learn to describe, expand and elaborate on your answers. The best way of doing this is to follow the B-STAR technique for answering interview questions.
Answers using this method follow the below structure:
B – Belief – What are your thoughts and feelings with regard to the subject matter? When addressing a conflict at work, your beliefs about conflict resolution and teamwork become crucial in shaping your response and approach.
S – Situation – What was going on? Briefly explain the scenario that was taking place. In the context of the interview question, concisely describe the conflict situation, focusing more on your actions and decisions rather than the conflict itself.
T – Task – What was your role in the action? Reflect on your role in the conflict situation, emphasizing how you actively contributed to resolving the issue, which demonstrates your problem-solving skills and leadership potential.
A – Activity (or action) – What did you do? Detail the steps you took and why you took them. Elaborate on the specific actions you took to resolve the work conflict, highlighting your interpersonal skills, decision-making process, and ability to work under pressure.
R – Result – How did everything end up? Try to use figures if possible. In the context of the conflict at work, share the positive outcomes of your actions, such as improved team dynamics, increased productivity, or any quantifiable results that emerged from your resolution efforts.
Remember though that the B-STAR technique is descriptive not prescriptive. You do not need to follow this flow strictly, go with what is best for your answers and that will allow you to put your point across and show your experience the best.
What You Should NOT Do When Answering Questions
Do not avoid the question.
Do not downplay the situation.
Do not overhype the situation.
Do not say you have never experienced a work conflict.
Do not reject the premise of the question.
Do not focus on blaming others in the conflict.
Do not leave out the resolution or outcome of the conflict.
Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work and how you resolved it. – Example answers
Example Answer 1
I’ve always believed that conflict, if handled constructively, can lead to growth and better understanding within a team. Last year, my team was working on a crucial project with a tight deadline. A disagreement arose between myself and a colleague over the project’s direction, which threatened to derail our progress.
As the project lead, it was my responsibility to ensure we stayed on track without compromising team harmony.
I initiated a meeting with my colleague to understand his perspective better. We both presented our views and, realizing the validity in each other’s points, we combined our ideas. This approach not only resolved the conflict but also improved our project plan. I also facilitated a team meeting to ensure everyone was on board and to address any underlying concerns.
As a result, we not only met our deadline but also delivered a more robust product. The project was praised by our client, leading to a 20% increase in customer satisfaction. This experience strengthened our team’s collaboration skills and set a precedent for constructive conflict resolution in future projects.
Example Answer 2
More Sample Answers…
The examples provided above can serve as a foundation for creating your unique answers. For additional inspiration, our new guide includes five sample responses to this question and over 250 answers to all of the most common interview queries.
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