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5 Questions Related to Conflict Resolution

Conflict is an inevitable part of a working environment. Conflict in moderation can be a healthy aspect of working in a team because if managed properly it can drive focused evaluation of different ideas.

Your prospective employer knows this, and they want to be comfortable that when conflict arises in the workplace, that you have the skills necessary to work through it in a constructive manner.

Questions About Conflict Resolution Skills

1. Talk about a situation where some of your team members disagreed with your ideas or approach. How did you handle the situation?

What they are really asking...

How do you deal with differences of opinion?

Tips on Answering

Classic conflict resolution question. Focus on how you empathized with the positions of those who disagreed with you and how you sought common ground between your ideas. Talk about influencing by providing data, clearly articulating your position and having a solid understanding of their position.

2. Have you faced a situation where you had to work with someone who didn't like you? How did you handle it?

What they are really asking...

Can you be effective without having a good personal relationship with a co-worker?

Tips on Answering

Focus on how you emphasized professionalism versus personal likes or dislikes. Talk about how you clearly established a professional operating environment that produced results, without necessarily having a personal relationship.

3. Describe a situation when you got co-workers who dislike each other to work together constructively.

What they are really asking...

How you 'mediate' between co-workers?

Tips on Answering

Describe how you took time to empathize with how each team member was feeling and why, then talk about the steps you took to find common ground in the group. I.e. Praising positive teaming behavior, discouraging negative teaming behavior. Dividing the task up into parts that each team member could take on etc.

4. Describe a time when you took accountability for a conflict and initiated contact with the individual(s) involved to explain your actions.

What they are really asking...

What is your approach to 'peacemaking' in a conflict situation?

Tips on Answering

Conflict is an inevitible part of the work environment. How you deal with conflict is an important skill. Here don't focus overly much on why the conflict took place, instead talk about what you did to overcome it. I.e. You identified common ground, clarified expectations, identified miscommunications, empathized with the other person etc.

5. Talk about a time when your performance was less than your supervisor was expecting.

What they are really asking...

What have you learned from past mistakes, and how do you apply this learning?

Tips on Answering

Spend a short amount of time describing the situation and the majority of the time describing what you learned. I.e. I learned to clearly document expectations prior to beginning a project.