Job Interview Question & Answer: Have You Ever Had a Conflict at Work and How Did You Resolve It?
Reason for the Question
Work environments include many different personality types, making conflict resolution a valuable skill for employees. Hiring managers might ask about how you interact with others and if you’ve ever resolved a conflict at work. All jobs are social to some extent, and showing an employer that you can successfully handle disputes with coworkers and customers is essential.
How to Respond
Candidates should share a specific work-related situation that resulted in them stepping in to overcome a disagreement. Your answer should include how the event arose, how you interacted with those involved, and the positive outcome that resulted from your efforts. Managers are looking for a clear response that details how you took an active role in resolving the problem.
Responses to Avoid
Avoid answers that insult the people involved or reveal personal information about them. Also, you should stay away from discussing issues that involve fellow candidates interviewing for the position. Other poor responses include sharing trivial disputes with family members, friends, and teachers.
Sample Responses to “Tell Me About a Time You Resolved a Conflict”
Spend some time thinking about and writing down your own response to this job interview question. Use the following samples to help you develop an answer that will impress hiring managers:
Sample Answer 1 – Retail Associate
“I worked the paint counter at my last job and had a situation with two customers who were upset with each other. The paint colors they received were very similar, and each gentleman thought the other had taken theirs on accident.”
“Knowing I could resolve the issue, I quickly stepped in and showed each customer their order forms and the differences in the two colors. They apologized for the misunderstanding and continued with their shopping.”
Sample Answer 2 – Coffee Shop Barista
“I used to work at a cafe downtown with two coworkers who didn’t get along. They refused to help each other with their shared job duties, and it started impacting our customers. I took them both aside and had them explain what was going on.”
“It turns out they had a disagreement outside of work. I informed them that their conflict delayed how fast customers got their food and how they need to act professionally during a shift. They were able to find common ground and leave their personal matters at the door.”
Sample Answer 3 – Delivery Driver
“At my last job, I was responsible for scheduling delivery times. One of my coworkers had a habit of making late deliveries. When I confronted him about it, he reacted defensively and raised his voice. I kept my cool and deescalated the situation, and we were able to discuss the issue calmly.”
“He explained that he was having trouble unloading the truck by himself every day in addition to his other duties. I spoke with our manager, who then created a ride-along position to help all of our workers with deliveries. My coworker’s delivery time improved significantly after that.”