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Common Interview Questions

30 Questions and Answers by

Rachelle Enns is an interview coach and job search expert. She works with candidates to perform their best in employment, medical, and post-secondary admission interviews.

Common was updated on June 19th, 2020. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.

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Common Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.

      How to Answer

      Even though you may have a great relationship with your employer, there may be times where you don't see eye to eye. Think of a conflict or disagreement you had with your boss where you responded well, either by suggesting a compromise or taking a calm, relaxed stance when you could have answered in a heated tone.

      Getting along well with others puts you in a favorable position because it shows your desire to collaborate and highlights your ability to problem solve and produce excellent results, despite a challenging situation.

      When asked a 'Tell me about a time...' question, it's important to remember that the interviewer is looking for a specific story-based example that highlights your behavior in challenging situations. By using the STAR interview method (an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result), you can more easily form a story-based response.

       Answer Examples

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      5+ Community Answers

      Anonymous Answer

      "I had a sales call for a large customer that we were presenting a project for. The strategy behind the presentation was open for discussion to ensure we captured everybody's "must-haves" in the meeting. He had a certain way of wanting to present to the customer, and I had mine. Ultimately it let to sitting down with our GM to ensure we asked all of the right questions, thought of all of the ways they could say no and in the end, came to an agreement."

      Rachelle's Answer

      You offer some great information; however, there are some gaps in what you offer the interviewer in terms of painting a full picture. Be sure to follow the STAR format for 'Tell me about a time' based questions. Following this framework will avoid this from happening.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "While working with _______, and our cloud migration, my boss wanted to deploy apps using old-style monolith builds. I insisted on doing the same using microservice-style deployments."

      Stephanie's Answer

      This is a great start. To improve your response, you should add a bit more detail here. How did you effectively communicate your viewpoint with your boss, when you each brought your own perspective? How did you work toward a resolution? In order to answer this question effectively, it's important to be able to illustrate your communication skills and problem-solving skills.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I had a conflict with my manager over vacation time. My parents were coming to visit from France, and I requested two days off to spend time with them. My coworker had recently gotten a month off to travel to Mexico. However, my manager refused to give me any time off. I was very disappointed and went to his office to discuss the issue with him privately. I managed to reach a compromise with him by assuring I would get all of my work done before I took time off. It was worth it, as I was able to reach my work obligations and visit my parents. My ability to get my work done on time also helped to rebuild trust with my manager. The situation taught me hard work and dedication do pay off eventually."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It's great that you came to a compromise with your boss, despite his original firm stance against time off. Your answer shows a lot of dedication.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "There was a disagreement between me and my boss in regards to the key art for a show that I was working on. He wanted to feature more of the cast to tell more of the story whereas I wanted to focus on the two main leads because I didn’t want the art to look too cluttered. In order to help inform our decision, I decided to conduct episode testing and creative testing and compiled the results to make my case. The episode testing showed that the relationship between the two main leads ranked the highest favorite storyline from the series. For the creative testing, I tested different key art variations featuring different characters and the version of the two leads performed the best. I also tested the art in-situ so I can see which image would be clicked on the most on the platform and again the version of the two leads performed the best. So when I presented this data to my boss and he agreed with the data and my recommendation so that’s what I used as the hero image in the campaign. As a result, the show became the highest performing season in the series."

      Cindy's Answer

      What a great answer! This is powerful because it shows a "data-driven" approach to solving a disagreement and letting the facts do the talking. The only suggestion I'd make is to provide more detail about how you discussed your findings with your boss.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "Although, I have great respect for my employer, sometimes we have disagreements on some issues. For instance, We had an upcoming project for that we needed to finalize our team for a satellite site, my boss recommended hiring a new experienced team for this project and I opposed this idea for the following reasons 1. it’s been difficult to manage a new team remotely 2. The working area of a satellite office is too small so the new team might not comfortable working as compared to our current staff 3. Project required a fast-paced environment and new staff required more time to adjust and I had a feeling that the project might not be completed in a timely manner. My boss listened to all my suggestions and fears with a great deal of passion and agreed with my recommendation. In this tensed meeting, I was so calm and relaxed and presented my point of view In a presentable way."

      Stephanie's Answer

      Disagreements in the workplace are bound to happen on occasion, and you do a great job of normalizing this experience and sharing how you presented your view and navigated the best path forward. Good work!

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      Anonymous Answer

      "When we have a disagreement, I don't confront him in front of others; I ask for a 1:1. I then explain my thinking on why we do things a certain way. I explain that my mentors suggested we do it this way from their last experience and that the way they have explained wasn't the most efficient way to do it. After or before I have stated my opinion, I ask why he wanted to do it a certain way. I would hate for people to confront me in front of a big group of people. So I would do what I would want done to me."

      Stephanie's Answer

      Great response; this shows self-awareness and compassion. It's clear that you're treating your boss the same way you'd like to be treated (approached in a 1:1 setting rather than called out in front of a group, etc.) To strengthen your response, you may wish to consider including a specific occurrence where this situation occurred and how you responded.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "My boss was so angry with me that I didn't notify her about the patient's condition and she received a call from the patient's family and she had no idea what they were talking about, I apologized and tried my best not to do it again."

      Cindy's Answer

      Take another look at this question and think about revising your answer. The interviewer may be seeking information about a time when you diplomatically disagreed with your manager and continued to work productively with him to her. Can you think of an example to draw on?

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I get along with everybody, which puts me in a high position with my supervisor and my co-workers because acceptability shows my desire to work together and highlights my creative problem-solving abilities."

      Kristine's Answer

      Good start. With this question, you should respond with an example of a time you disagreed with a boss using the STAR method. It would be excellent to mention you talked in a calm manner and did not challenge your superior's authority.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "In my current role, I disagreed with my boss when they were continuously saying to me to push our stakeholder test faster. I am explaining to them why I don't do that currently because our stakeholders at the client side are busy with more critical assignments right now and we don't want to harm the relationship with them. Also, we can not push the other projects we are dependent on either because they are so much bigger and the way they do things is then regulated much stricter."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This response is okay; however, it leaves the interviewer with more questions that answers. What was the resolution? Did you and your boss come to an agreement?

      "I recently disagreed with my boss on how to communicate with our stakeholders. I wanted to take a more personable and communicative approach where he wanted to push harder. Of course, I did not want to harm the relationship with the stakeholders, so I chose to take a stance against his recommendations. In the end, I was able to continue communicating with the stakeholders how I saw fit."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I was working on a project, and my team lead asked me to document all the test cases I was working on to a table on a Wiki page. I didn't think that it was a good idea, and I gave a couple of examples: the framework that we are using already allows to have test cases' names in a very descriptive format, the table will become soon outdated because we don't have a dedicated person to do updates and soon I'll start working on some other task, and I won't have time to do updates. But then the team lead said that he wants to show it to the customer so as a result, I created the table and after a couple of months everyone forgot about it."

      Rachelle's Answer

      So it seems you were right in the end :) It's good that you supported your thinking and then moved forward by doing what your boss requested. Nice story example!

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