Tough Interview Question - Do you handle conflict well?

Do you handle conflict well?

Similar interview questions:
Tell me about a time where you had a disagreement with your boss or coworker.
If you see someone doing something clearly wrong at work, would you confront that person or ignore it?
How do you handle it when someone requests that you do something you don’t want to do?
Do you ever get into arguments with others?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The reason for the question may vary based on the employer. Some employers value employees speaking up when they disagree, while other employers do not. At Amazon, we had a core value of “Will disagree and commit.” Meaning that we wanted people who disagreed to voice their disagreement. Yet when the issue was fully vetted, we would commit to the final decision, even if we disagreed. So you may want to do some background on the cultural values of the employer.

The best approach to answering this question:
Focus on how you actively work through or resolve conflict. Give an example of a time when you had conflict and what you did specifically to resolve the conflict, ideally in a positive way for both parties.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"Conflict can be a part of getting things accomplished. Usually I’ve seen conflict arise due to differing priorities, both internal and external. Let me give you an example of a recent conflict I had internally with a person in another department and what we did to work together to resolve our different priorities…"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"I do handle conflict well. I try to understand the needs of the other person and look for a way where we can find a common middle ground. As an example, on my internship, there was a conflict within our team over who was going to take responsibility for one of the key deliverables…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"Well, conflict is why I’m leaving my current job. I don’t need the stress of the constant conflict going on all around me. I tried wearing ear buds, but that didn’t help, I would still get people yelling at me above my music. I tend to just walk away. So here I am…"

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

Further review: know the answers to these Fifty Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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