Interview Question: Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor? With a coworker? How did you resolve the conflict?

Discussion: You want to show that you always work toward a productive solution to conflict, and that you don’t hold a grudge or keep a chip on your shoulder. Show that you can stick up for yourself, but do it in a non-confrontational, non-emotional fashion. Deliver this answer with lots of eye contact.

“That is a very important question. You are wondering how I deal with conflict? Well, I am always looking

for the productive solution to conflicts and I do my best to leave my ego out of it. I forgive people often – because everyone has stress … but when something needs to be said, I do try to bring it out in the open, and IN PRIVATE so I don’t make someone – or myself – look bad. Often I find that the cause of conflict is a misunderstanding. So I approach it from the point of wanting to get clarity. I avoid accusatory questions like “Did you do it?” and use questions like “Could you be the person that did this?” FOR EXAMPLE, one time at Job “X” …”

“I usually get along well with everyone. In the case that a conflict comes up, I try to focus on a productive solution, rather than personalities. I try to maintain respect for people no matter what their position. I think it is possible to find a “win/win” solution to almost every situation. FOR EXAMPLE …”

“Well Margaret, I try to approach conflict positively, and try to work toward a productive “win-win” resolution. I try to keep larger goals in mind and frame discussion in terms of the goals of the company or the goals of the team. FOR EXAMPLE, I once had a colleague who I felt was always dogging me. I thought about it for a while, and then made it clear to her in private that I was willing to learn from her, but that I don’t tolerate unproductive negative criticism. We talked for a while and then we had a much better working relationship from that time forward.”


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