Behavioral Interview Question: Tell me about a time when you had settle a dispute between team members. How did you go about identifying the issues? What was the result?
The strategy is fairly simple here – If you can prove you’re a problem solver, you’ll impress the interviewer. There are disagreements in every workplace, how you deal with them is extremely important to employers which is why you will be asked a direct interview question about your mediation and problem solving skills.
This can be a tough question for some people to answer because it’s not very common for many entry level employees to get involved in disputes. If you don’t have an answer, and you can’t figure out one, don’t make one up. Be honest, and say something like:
“Given my level in the company, it was difficult to get involved in workplace disputes because many took place on the supervisory level. Nevertheless, I would always offer to take on extra work if it was needed and was happy to lend an ear for people to vent their frustrations and offer feedback.”
If you are able to think of an example, then be sure to consider the following guidelines:
- Never say anything bad about anyone involved.
- Never say anything bad about their ideas.
- Always make sure that the ways you “solved” it is actually valuable.
- Always make sure that you’re saying concrete things.
The latter is important. Make sure you’re not saying nonsense statements like “I talked to them and helped them communicate”. You need to focus on the process you undertook. For example:
“We gathered in the meeting room, and I opened up dialogue by attempting to recap each person’s points and ideas. We listed them all on a piece of paper…(Insert details about your specific example)”
That type of detail paints a picture of you as a problem solver, thus giving them something to remember you by. If you are unclear about your problem solving skills see our post – Identifying the 3 Types of Problem Solvers.
You’ve solved problems. If you can figure out how to put those problems into words that impress an interviewer, you can show that you’re able to handle anything that your work may throw at you.
COMMENT: What’s the most difficult problem you have solved in the workplace?