What they want to know
Everyone has faced a challenging situation or conflict in the workplace. However, that doesn’t make it any easier to discuss in a job interview. It can be challenging to pick a conflict to discuss without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. The key here is to make your answer more of a story and less analytical. Your interviewers want to see your human side and get a sense that you are capable of professionally handling conflict in the workplace.
In your answer, focus more on the resolution and less on the conflict. Many interviewees make the mistake of spending too much time talking about the conflict and getting caught up with the story’s negative side. Instead, briefly explain the problematic situation and focus your time on what you did to overcome it. But most importantly, be honest with your answer and don’t pretend to be the “perfect” candidate.
If you can, pick a relevant example relevant to the job or the company’s industry. In other words, choose a conflict or situation related to the job. You can use the STAR method to outline your answer to this question to keep you on track and paint a clear picture of your conflict resolution skills.
Example answering tell me about a conflict you faced at work
“My coworker was on vacation for the week, and our Chief Operating Officer called me and asked if her presentation for a new product idea was completed. She was very stressed as she needed it by the following morning. I was not working on the presentation and didn’t have the most recent copy. I called up my coworker on their cell phone and had her email the PowerPoint to me.
Our COO and I had a brief call and went over the presentation with her to see what was missing. I was able to figure out what was left to add and completed the presentation before the end of the day. Our COO was very pleased with the presentation and called me after her meeting and send it went very well! Now, my coworker and I share all of our working documents on the cloud so we can easily access each other’s files if something like that ever happens again.”
This is an excellent example of explaining a conflict you faced in the workplace and how you resolved it. The answer highlights the conflict itself but focuses on the steps the interviewee took to overcome it and come to a resolution. Additionally, it clearly uses the STAR method to lay out the problem, making it easy for the hiring manager to follow. It also demonstrates that the interviewee can thrive under pressure and work alongside senior leadership.
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