Tell me about a time when you had to follow a decision with which you did not agree.
Similar interview questions:
What do you do when you disagree with someone?
How do you disagree without being disagreeable?
If things don’t go your way, what do you do?
How do you handle it when someone in authority tells you to do something you think is wrong?
Why the interviewer is asking this question:
This is a "disagree and commit" question. The interviewer is probing how you react to decisions with which you do not agree.
The best approach to answering this question:
Many candidates falsely take this as a prompt for a time when you convinced the other person of the error in their ways. The better way to answer the question is to talk about a time when someone else (usually a person in authority) makes a decision with which you do not agree, yet you need to commit to delivering. While you can talk about your contrary position, the bulk of your answer should be talking about how you delivered successfully in spite of not being on board with the initial decision.
An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"Our company recently made the decision to become a government contractor. I disagreed with this decision due to the negative impact it would have on my department and more broadly on the culture of the company. However, once the decision was made by the CEO, I stepped up to lead the implementation of the federal contracting program, since I had previous experience with this at a prior employer…"
An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"In my internship, I was asked to deliver a product using a development framework that was clearly inferior to the one that I had proposed using for the project. I worked with my boss to deliver the project on time and also wrote up a detailed process flow diagram using the development framework…"
An example of how you should not answer this question:
"My boss made a decision I really did not agree with and I told him so. I spent a lot of my time on that project poking holes in the decision pretty much every chance I got. He finally got tired of hearing me complain about it and put me on a different project. So yeah, I won that battle…"
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!