Conflict is a natural aspect of life, and unless you’re extremely fortunate and don’t have to work (why are you reading this?), it’s also a natural element of your professional life. Life is, after all, a series of conflicts, and how you resolve them says a lot about who you are as a person — which is why interviewers love to question you about it, usually in one of these ways:
- Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker and how you resolved it
- Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work.
- Describe a moment when you had to deal with a disgruntled client or coworker.
- Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with a boss.
And I’m sure if you think about it, you can recall a time when you had to deal with a… should we say, a fly in the ointment. You’ve got a thorn in your side. You’re in a lot of pain. This is a true turd sandwich.
They ask this question to learn about your conduct, interpersonal skills, and overall capacity to manage disagreement, not to find out how jerkish your former coworker or customer was. Follow closely as we discuss in this article the “tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work answers.
WHY DO INTERVIEWERS ASK “TELL ME ABOUT A CHALLENGE OR CONFLICT YOU’VE FACED AT WORK”
Interviewers will not stop asking the questions related to “Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work “. This behavioral interview question is popular among hiring managers and recruiters since it provides them with more information about their talents and qualifications. For a reason, it’s one of the most commonly asked interview questions.
Interviewers want to examine how well you solve problems to evaluate if you’d be a good fit for the position you’re interviewing for. Every work has its own set of obstacles and conflicts, so they can forecast how you’ll approach decision-making in the future by looking at your previous achievements in this area.
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HOW TO ANSWER “TELL ME ABOUT A CHALLENGE OR CONFLICT YOU’VE FACED AT WORK”
Every interview has its own focus, but some of the “Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work” questions are asked so frequently that it’s worth doing everything you can to prepare for them. You need a strategy, not rehearsed responses, to be effective. Your goal should be to highlight the aspects of your past experiences that best match the needs of each interviewer.
This is an example of a behavioral interview question, which usually begins with “Tell me about a time…” or “Give me an example of…”
Interviewers utilize behavioral inquiries to understand more about you than just what you say, similar to how a novel uses third-person characterization. One of two things can be said by an author:
- “Larry was a true jackass, ruthless and stingy.”
- “Larry was the type of guy who would write ‘Do a better job’ on a restaurant check’s tip line.”
They want to see examples of how you’ve handled certain circumstances in the past, rather than taking your word for it when you say, “I’m a team player who attempts to resolve disputes.” The notion is that your previous job performance will reveal a lot about how you would manage yourself if you were recruited for the job.
3 TIPS FOR ANSWERING “TELL ME ABOUT A CHALLENGE OR CONFLICT YOU’VE FACED AT WORK”
However, don’t try to appear non-combative to the point where you act as if you’ve never had a workplace fight. The most frequent interview questions are popular because they provide insight into your personality and are applicable to a wide range of professions and people.
So don’t get so caught up in trying to be the “ideal candidate” that you miss the question or provide a poor example. If your office went out to lunch once a week, don’t mention the time you suggested Asian fusion and Ryan chose Mexican but Drew really wanted Thai.
In all seriousness, that’s a fine answer, but unless your interviewer takes food as seriously as I do, it’s unlikely to reflect on your conflict resolution skills as successfully as resolving a disagreement over the course of a work assignment.
In conclusion, while answering inquiries concerning workplace conflict, remember these three guidelines:
- Give an example of a positive, measurable result.
- Give a concrete example, preferably one that the interviewer can relate to.
- Describe the solution rather than merely the problem.
Keep those things in mind, and you’ll be on your way to getting a job offer in no time. At the very least, you’ll be able to move on to more interesting issues, such as your professional ambitions.
TELL ME ABOUT A CHALLENGE OR CONFLICT YOU’VE FACED AT WORK AND HOW YOU DEALT WITH IT EXAMPLES
With some sample answers, it’s time to put all of our advice into practice. Take note of how each solution employs the STAR approach to provide a completely cogent response to this behavioral interview question.
1. At my last sales position, we had a client who was really displeased with the details of our agreement.
It was my role as her principal point of contact at the company to defuse the situation and assist him in reaching a new agreement that benefited both our company and his.
First, I talked to him about the specifics of his dissatisfaction, such as the cost of delivery and the difficulty he was having with our program. We worked through the issues until he was satisfied with the new arrangement. We also assigned him a permanent customer success representative to ensure that he could get the most out of our services.
While he was on the verge of terminating our partnership at the outset, he was a satisfied customer at the end. The following year, he upgraded to our complete service package and became one of our top five clients.
2. Not long ago, my team encountered a situation in which a new piece of software was generating more delays than it was supposed to.
At the time, I was leading the programming team, so I stepped in to understand more about the specific issues and how they were hurting each team member’s productivity.
Some team members were irritated by the increased effort, but I convened a meeting in which each employee’s concerns could be addressed and heard, ensuring that everyone felt appreciated throughout the process. We were able to adequately troubleshoot the issue without being completely burned out by the process by delegating jobs and working extra hard for a week (both me and my team).
In the end, the new piece of software improved our procedures by 19%, so it was a worthwhile effort. On case you were asked in an interview to describe your greatest strength and weakness, click to know more.
Your interviewer will very certainly be able to relate to your story on some level, and that’s what this is all about: building a rapport and demonstrating why you’re the ideal candidate for the job.
In an interview, when asked “Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work”, don’t portray yourself as someone who always avoids conflict; a little bravery is a commendable trait. You’re selling yourself, and no one likes to talk about problems when they’re selling something.
You’ll very certainly have to deal with people that don’t put forth any effort, have bad opinions, or are just bad people in general. In a really meta way, how you respond to the tension and disquiet that this question provokes is indicative of how you’ll handle future disputes.