Behavioural Interview Question: Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work


In this post, we’ll answer the situational interview question… Wait for it… “Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work.


In this post, we’re going to cover:


Why this question is asked – what the interviewer is thinking behind the scenes
What to say when you’re answering this question – how to answer it
And how to wrap it up so that you don’t keep going and ramble your way into nothingness.


So, stay tuned!


All right, what is the point of this question? Why is it asked?


This question is designed to see how you approach a stalemate, a draw, a situation where there’s no clear move because you are at an impasse. You disagree, so what do you do next? This is really important. They want to know how you are going to react when you get into a disagreement with somebody or a group. When you a different opinion to someone else, how do you communicate with that person to get to a resolution? Communication is the #1 skill that you’re going to demonstrate when you answer this question.


How do you answer this question?


So, as all these questions go, you answer it by telling a story, and you use the S.A.R.I. formula. If you’re not familiar with the S.A.R.I. formula, it stands for Situation, Action, Result, and (as a bonus) Interesting features. The S.A.R.I. formula comes in many forms. It’s mentioned in other online resources as the S.T.A.R. formula or the S.A.R. formula, which is essentially the same thing. You want to tell a memorable story that’s interesting to listen to and includes enough detail to paint a picture. So, let’s get into it.



Step 1: Situation


So, the story should be pretty concise. You want to keep it short and sweet, so set up the situation, set the stage. What was the disagreement about, and who was it with? Why was it important? Why did you want to pursue this disagreement? Why didn’t you just let it go and say, “Whatever, it’s OK”? Why did you see this as an important thing?


Step 2: What did you do?


How did you communicate to get through the disagreement? How did you approach the topic? What communication strategies did you use?


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Step 3: The Result


So, here is where you tell them the ending. How did it work out? What was the end result? Make an effort to keep the story concise. It’s very easy to off on a tangent, especially if you haven’t prepared beforehand, so keep it focused, and tell the result. Every story needs a happy ending, so make sure you choose something that makes you sound awesome, and make it positive.


Step 4: Interesting features


Anything you learned here? Or did you take away from this experience any nuggets of wisdom to share? Basically, anything that makes the story more interesting and more fun to listen to and shows how insightful you can be.


And there we have it! What is your attitude towards conflict? How do you deal when someone or a group of people disagrees with you? How do you proceed to communicate? What tools or resources did you use to get to the result that you wanted? And what was the end result? Zero in on what you learned to keep it interesting. Share any books or resources. And there we go! Another one of those bugger situational interview questions answered.


The good news is that if you understand one of these questions, you’ll understand all of them. They all have the same framework and the same basic way of answering them. You just need to fill in the blanks with your own story.


Thank you so much for reading. If you’d like help with more of these questions, I’ve put together a guide, and it’s very comprehensive. It’s got 10+ examples of the most common questions. You can download the guide and get instant access right now. What you’ll get when you download this guide is you will get immediate access to an in-depth look at the S.A.R.I. formula and the psychology behind it (We’ll break it down step by step.), a series of concrete examples for the top-ten most commonly asked situational questions, and fill-in-the-blank templates already done for you so that you can get going on your own answers. If you’re still getting stuck—because preparing these stories is a challenge—I’ve also included 25 questions that you can ask yourself to come up with your own stories much quicker and more effectively.


You’ll get all of this in a beautifully designed workbook designed specifically for you to prepare for your next interview. By the end of working through this guide, you’ll be totally ready for any situational interview question that gets thrown your way.


Click below to get it now.


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Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on the other side and next week. Join me back here next time!


2 comments on “Behavioural Interview Question: Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work

  1. I always was concerned about this question, and I still don’t know how to answer it, regards for putting up this much though.

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