Menu Menu Previous Interview Question Next Interview Question Search print thumbs-down thumbs-up Check Square bookmark arrow-right Logo MockQuestions Logo MockQuestions
Job interview preparation
Sign in
Career Interviews
Interview Topics
Company Interviews
How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
You spend so many waking hours in the workplace that conflict between co-workers can happen. How you handle conflict is what the interviewer would like to know. This is not an opportunity to start venting about your current workplace culture. An interviewer wants to see that you will take accountability for conflict whether the occurrence is considered your fault, or not. Handling workplace conflict tactfully, and with grace, should be the only option. Give a clear example of a time when you professionally managed workplace conflict.
Answer examples
"My style of conflict management is upfront, yet - I swiftly move on. In the five years that I have worked for my current company, I have only come across one instance of conflict. One of my staff members did not show up for their shift, so I was forced to cover their shift. Because of this, I missed my daughter's dance recital. I was upset about it but wanted to do my part as a team player. The next day, the delinquent employee came in and didn't say a word. He didn't apologize to me or thank me for my time. I approached him and told him how his actions impacted my day. He did not respond how I wanted; however, I let it go after I said my part. You cannot change the actions of others, but you have to take responsibility for how you handle your side."
Admin answer example
"One point I learned when obtaining my Business Admin degree is that conflict is often a symptom of poor communication, so when conflict arises in the workplace, I am sure to address the situation by starting at the root of the issue - communication breakdown. With most things in life, I like to address conflict upfront rather than let them fester into a more significant issue. Speaking to someone openly, while making sure they don't feel as though you are attacking them, can yield excellent results, I find."
Manager answer example
"I start by identifying the possible reasons for the conflict, poor communication, absence of required materials, employee morale being down, etc. From there, I talk directly with the persons conflicting to find solutions and get everyone back on track."
Sales answer example
"In a previous role, another employee and I seemed to be clashing. Nothing overt or truly problematic, but we worked together frequently, and it was becoming toxic. Rather than let it fester, I asked to speak with her for a quick minute. We grabbed a conference room and talked. We aired out any grievances we had and quashed them right there. We went on to be great teammates and ultimately became friends outside of work as well."
Retail answer example
"I'd say that conflict makes me uncomfortable but is entirely necessary at times. I try to stay out of it and let my coworkers handle it themselves since there is something to be learned from hashing it out without interference. That said, I am always paying attention to be sure that it doesn't go too far. When necessary, I am sure to step in and mediate, telling the parties to take a bit to cool off before we dive back in. I feel that this has been very effective for me in the past and it's something I will continue to do as a retail manager."
Teacher answer example
"There will always be creative differences among teachers regarding our philosophies on teaching, or homework. Anything you could disagree on- we do! However, I like to approach any conflict about teaching philosophies as an opportunity to explain my perspective, why I believe what I do, and let them do the same. This way, I can potentially learn from them. It is also important to remember, both the most senior teachers and the newest hires have something important to contribute."
Marketing answer example
"I feel that I stay out of conflict for the most part. I am happy to be involved in a debate or intellectual set of differences, but when people start taking it personally or attacking one another, I remove myself from the situation. I love to collaborate and am always up for a friendly debate, however!"

More Interview Questions

Practice More Interviews

We all have some behaviors that are typical of us and which sometimes results in ...
There are some questions that employers ask at almost every interview. The questions ...
Communication skills are essential for any workplace to function efficiently. However, ...
If you are interviewing for any type of leadership role; prepare with our leadership ...
Our management questions are designed for any interview for a position that has authority ...
This set of questions aims to ascertain what your idea of teamwork is and whether ...

User-Submitted Answers

How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
Really I have never had too. I got along with my co-workers and managers .
Usually in most cases id walk away we had a no tolerance policy so their was nothing worth losing your job over.
No I had not met with any confrontation as I am go along with my coworkers.
I go with my coworkers if not I will treat with humble.
I have had to deal with confrontation whilst working in the prices arms I handled this confrontation very well and I was happy to help them.
When i'm really serious about the issue and I would typically make the confrontation more understanding.
When I come across confrontation in the work place, I always keep a calm voice and control the situation with the particular words I say. Even if we don't see each others side I try to be open and see where they are coming from.
Confrontation is something that we see a lot in the field we work in. Many times this is a result of fear and frustration due to the situation they are in. Recently had a customer who had been looking for employment for quite some time. She could not get past the interview. In going over her interview skills, realized that she was not specific or confident in presenting her skills. When this was addressed, she became defensive and aggressive. As we discussed the way an employer is looking for skills and process, she became more receptive. The acceptance that she would not be returning to the same job with the same pay was a turning point for her. After that she was able to look at the new ideas in more open and receptive manner. As a result, she was able to pass her interview and gain employment. I find that the best approach is to look for the best possible way where a customer will understand and gain the knowledge and receptiveness necessary. Getting past the fear is very important.
Usually, I mind my own business. But if it involves me then I generally speak up or Just talk to the manager instead to resolve the issue/s.
I dealt with confrontation last month. I listen to both sides of the stories, and ensure that the stories are told in public, not behind closed doors. I ensure that each party has a fair opportunity to speak fully to present all of the facts.
I try to work it out. I haven't seen eye to eye with some employees, but I am willing to work it out.
I always talk with a very nice manner, friendly to them and be open minded.
I always talk with a very nice manner, friendly to them and be open minded.
I always talk with a very nice manner, friendly to them and be open minded.
I always talk with a very nice manner, friendly to them and be open minded.
I manage myself frst thn I do handle that situation.
When I am at work I am there to do a job. I stay away from gossip and those that like to engage in that behavior. I remain friendly but professional. I have always been that way so I have been able to avoid confrontation. I dont like it and there is no room for it at work.
When a parent accused me of yelling at her child, I handled the situation in a professional manner and explained the situation.
I understand the situation thoroughly first before making any decisions.
By discussing it with the aggrieved party and solve its problems.
I have learnt that when dealing with workplace confrontation, I need to think through different options to resolve the matter confronting the matter. This allows me the ability to present workable options without forcing my way or not making any contribution.
I generally do not have a confrontation with people I do is amassed I get the job done I don't argue with people I just work as a team and get it done if I didn't have to handle confrontation most basically would follow the protocol of the job and talk to.
N/a but I would try to defuse the situation.