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How would you evaluate your ability to deal with conflict?

This is asked in a few different ways. Sometimes it’s “Describe how you deal with conflict.” The interviewer wants to know how you resolve difficult situations. There are none more difficult than conflict in the work place.

It should be clear that saying you are poor at resolving conflict is a negative. Learn to deal with conflict so you can answer this question positively. Even if you still really don’t like it, you can frame an answer that helps land the job, and learn to deal with conflict when it does occur.

If possible provide specific examples of work situations that involved conflict and how you dealt with it.

“I don’t much like conflict, so I think I’m probably not the strongest when it comes to dealing with it. But I think it’s best to try to deflate it, put aside differences to deal with the task at hand. We’re co-workers, we don’t have to be best friends.”

“If things really heat up I don’t want to create a situation where it’s impacting the job. So I do my best to step out of the situation emotionally, and if someone else persists, I’ll talk to a supervisor to settle the problem. A few years ago we had a tight deadline, and I don’t know what happened but another worker and I just couldn’t agree on some details. I compromised on a lot, but he just kept at it. Finally I asked a supervisor to step in. She cleared the air and we were able to work together.”

Head On:
“Conflict is best met head on. If there’s a problem, I’ll get with the people involved in a room and hash it out. We have to work together whether they’re co-workers, employees or my boss. I’ve never met a situation that couldn’t be solved, or at least compromised. One time it came down to something as simple as who would speak during a power point presentation. We compromised, each taking the lead for half the presentation. It worked well.”

Walk a Mile:
“I try to see things from other perspectives. So when there’s conflict, I look at the situation from the other side. Sometimes I see I’m right, sometimes I see I’m wrong. People get the idea I’m pretty fair, and they’ll listen when I really stick to my guns.”

Co-Worker Slacking:
“I worked once with a guy who never did his share of the work. He’s play games during the day. For awhile most of the people covered up for him, but it got to be pretty crazy. I started giving him specific assignments, kind of taking a supervisor role. He still didn’t respond so some people went to the boss. Eventually they fired him because he just refused to work.”

One of the worst answers we’ve heard is “I can already see I won’t like you!”

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