Interview Question: Tell Me About a Conflict with a Coworker and How You Resolved It | Pollack Peacebuilding Systems

April 17, 2021by Vanessa Rose0

If you’re on the hunt for a new job or you’re growing worried about your upcoming job interview, you may find yourself trying to remember some typical questions a potential employer may ask. Questions about managing conflict may not come up in all job settings, but if you’re working with customers, leading a team, or managing projects that are people-centric, your future boss may want to know a bit about your past experiences around conflict with a coworker and how you resolved it.

Conflict with a Coworker and How You Resolved It

While there are many ways to assess someone’s conflict expertise, asking about first-hand experience is a common way hiring managers start the conversation. If you haven’t had much experience breaking up conflict at work, or if you have but it’s not necessarily something you’d feel proud to share in an interview, don’t fret. Doing your own research on conflict resolution can help you demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics that can impact interpersonal effectiveness and demonstrate skills even if you haven’t had a chance to personally experience conflict with a coworker and how you resolved it.

Research Common Causes of Conflict

Being able to identify common factors affecting conflict in the workplace will fill in any first-hand gaps of how to handle employee conflict. By speaking confidently on the more frequent issues that stir conflict, you can also discuss what you might do as a leader to prevent conflict by managing these issues.

Identify Your Conflict Strengths and Weaknesses

If you can’t think of a time when you experience conflict with a coworker and how you resolved it, consider other settings in which you may have played a role in conflict. When disputes arise in your personal life, what are your most common tendencies? Do you back away or lean in? Are you a de-escalator or do you maybe raise the heat a little bit? Do you have particular stressors that come up during conflict that prohibit you from being an effective collaborator or problem-solver? All of this is okay, but identifying these strengths and weaknesses will give you the clarity to answer conflict resolution questions in your next interview while also allowing you to see where to zoom in and focus your work. Conflict resolution methods in the workplace are not one size fits all, so getting to know yourself will help you grab for the right tools and show a future employer that your self-awareness is an asset all on its own.

Get Training

Don’t expect to know it all from past experience and a few Google searches. Take it a step further by reaching out to professionals who provide help in de-escalation, diversity and inclusion, and conflict communication training. Ramping up these skills will not only increase your confidence in landing the job, it will also give you the confidence you’ll need to effectively mitigate conflict in your workplace. Training can help you practice new skills and exercise your new conflict resolution muscles, making you ready for anything.

Dealing with employee conflict is stressful for most people. If you’re looking to ramp up your skills to demonstrate leadership abilities, get training from the professionals. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right support in your professional development.

Vanessa Rose

Vanessa is a licensed psychotherapist and writer living in Los Angeles. When not on a mission for inner peace and conflict resolution, she enjoys making art, visiting the beach, and taking dog portraits. Always curious about self-improvement and emotional expansion, Vanessa also manages her own website which explores the unconscious and archetypal influences on how we eat, express, and relate.

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