How To Answer A Conflict Interview Question

How To Answer A Conflict Interview Question

How To Answer A Conflict Interview Question


So, you’re wondering how to answer that interview question, “Tell me about a time when you had a conflict at work.”

Well, you’re in the right place.

In this post, I’m going to break down the exact way to answer the question, and The biggest mistakes that people make that cost most people the job when they’re talking about conflict.

So, stay tuned.

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I’d like to start with a quote: “Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” Ronald Reagan.

What does this mean?

It means that disagreement is not a negative thing; it just means that most people are not skilled in handling it peacefully, which is especially important in the workplace.

So we want to have conflict in the workplace, because it means that everyone is bringing different ideas to the table.

The goal is not to never have conflict.

That’s not realistic, and that doesn’t happen.

The goal of answering this question is to show that you handle conflict in a way that serves everybody the best.



Secondly, this might surprise you, true story here: 10% of conflicts are due to a real disagreement, where there’s no agreeing on a certain point, and 90% are due to someone using the wrong tone of voice or the wrong way to communicate with somebody.

So, language triggers are very big, and they can often trigger somebody else if they hear a word that they don’t like, so they end up making the conflict a lot bigger than it really is.

With this in mind, showing you how to handle conflict peacefully and professionally is essential so that you can get to your next round of interviews.

Now I’m going to share with you an example story of how you can answer this question, and it has three


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Part number 1: Situation.


The team wanted to use Excel for tracking events, or tracking event attendees, but I wanted to use a different software. It was something I’d used in the past, and found it to be a better tool, especially for this.

The whole team was stuck on continuing to use Excel, it’s what they’d always done, and they did not want to change. I wanted to use the new software because I believed that it would really make things a lot easier for us during the event and throughout the whole process.


Part number 2: Action.


What did you do?

So I asked if they’d be willing to hear me out. If I did a short demo presentation on the new software, and I showed them a few things that we could do right away, and how it could save us some time, then if they didn’t like the presentation or they didn’t agree with me after that, then I said I was happy to continue with Excel.

I presented the data, I showed up with measurable ways that it could help us, specifically applying it to our project. I suggested that they do a quick test drive of this software to see if they liked it or not, and then if they had any questions, I was able to help them.


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Part number 3: Result


What was the outcome?

After hearing the demo, they loved it, and they got really excited about it, and they agreed to give it a try, just for this event. We still use the software today, and we’ve expanded to using it for other things as well, including setting our team goals and our planning sessions.


Interesting features.


What was interesting about that?

A key belief of mine is to let the best idea win, so no matter whose idea it was, we leave our titles at the door, and we all come in with new ideas.

What I learned was that the main thing was we were using the most efficient tool. That was the goal. If that was my suggestion, great; if it was Excel, then great. But I just wanted to make sure that we had explored all of our options.

So, to sum it up, good answers to this question include stories around you bringing data to a problem, running a test to get someone to see info that they maybe didn’t see before, or a combination of both of those things, plus talking, good communication with the team or the person that you disagree with, and illustrating an example as I did in this post.

The biggest mistakes when answering this question include answering it like this: “I would do it my own way behind the team’s back, and I would prove them wrong.” Bad answer.

OR, “I would stay quiet, and I would just go along with whatever everyone wanted, and I wouldn’t do anything.” Also a bad answer.

We want you to have your ideas and speak them.



Both of those answers either show that you’re not a team player, or that you’re just not going to bring value to the table because you’re afraid to speak up, so neither of those show a confident or positive person.

In conclusion


And there you have it: The answer to the question, how to handle a conflict in the workplace.

If you’d like more help with these types of interview questions, download my free situational interview guide click here: The Ultimate Situational Interview Q&A Guide


Nailing the interview questions is great! But There is a lot more to interviewing than just answering the questions.

In fact if all you do is answer the questions alone, you’ve already lost the interview.


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What you’ll get inside the guide:


  • Top-ten examples of stories that have proven to be impressive interview answers


  • The S.A.R.I. formula breakdown of how to answer these questions


  • The step-by-step of why it works


  • Fill-in-the-blank templates for each question so, you’ll be able to fill in the blanks and get going!


  • Now you’ll need to come up with your own stories! (You can steal the ones in the guide if they apply to you though too, I don’t mind)


If you are still getting stuck because you can’t think of your own stories…


I’ve included 25 questions that you can ask yourself to come up with your stories much quicker!


You’ll get all this in a beautifully designed workbook prepared specifically for you to prepare for your interviews.


By the end of working through this guide, you’ll be feeling confident and ready for any situational interview that comes your way!


Here is some feedback I’ve gotten from this guide, and I get new emails like this every day, and they NEVER get old!




By the end of working through the guide you’ll be totally ready for any situational interview question that gets thrown your way!

Click below and grab it now.

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Do you know one person who could benefit from the information in this post? If so, do your friend a favour and share this info with him/her.


And remember, the current system isn’t perfect, but you can outsmart it. I’m here to prove to you that you do have what it takes.


Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time. Feeling pretty energized right now!!!

In Work & Life
I’ve got your back!

-Natalie Fisher