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

1 of 30 Common Interview Questions and Answers Written by Rachelle Enns

Updated December 20th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
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 puts you in a high position with your boss, because it shows your desire to work together and highlights your creative problem-solving abilities.

Professional Answer Examples
Answer example

"My boss and I disagreed about whether my assistant was right for promotion into another department. He believed that she should remain in her current role, and I also knew she wasn't quite ready; however, I knew that we'd lose a valuable team member if she weren't given an opportunity soon. We chose to promote her accompanied by heavy training. The outcome was positive."

Answer example

"My previous boss wanted to have a large hand in our social media marketing despite his lack of understanding of how it worked. He wanted to add complicated pricing and photo collages where I felt that a simple teaser and call to action was enough. We compromised, and each did it our way for one week. We then collected the insights related to customer engagement on each. I was correct in my stance. After that, he allowed me to manage our social media independently."

Answer example

"I had a boss that regularly forced overtime on employees at the last minute with no opportunity to make personal arrangements. I spoke with him at length about morale, and eventually, he started giving the notice sooner, making everyone's lives easier."

Answer example

"In a previous role, my supervisor thought we did not need to invest the time or money into growing an email distribution list or consistently putting out email content. I strongly disagreed, especially after getting my email marketing certification. I approached the topic gingerly and used hard numbers from case studies and tied them to the ROI. By removing emotion from the equation, and focusing strictly on data and analytics, I was able to lay it out in a way that would be hard to dispute or elicit an emotional response. He ultimately gave the green light for piloting the program."

Answer example

"I have done my best to always get along with my bosses, but inevitably I've disagreed with them in the past. The disagreements have been about the distribution of tasks among the staff. I'm not very confrontational, but I did pull my boss aside on a few occasions to let her know that the treatment seemed unfair to me and it was hurting morale. I asked her to please stay in touch with me about my team and let me make those types of decisions since I know the team intimately. She was not thrilled at first since it questioned her authority and knowledge of the team, but after explaining how it was impacting the morale, productivity, and ultimately my influence as a leader, she tried it my way, and it has gone well since."

Answer example

"My sales director and I disagreed on the pending termination of one of my sales employees a short time ago. I wanted to spend time training him a bit more after he missed his targets for four months in a row. My director wanted to terminate him immediately. I presented to my director that it would be more expensive to replace him than to re-train. He agreed, and we came to a middle ground."

Answer example

"I like to think that my department chair and I have a great relationship in which we can both challenge each other to think differently. In light of that, we do occasionally disagree but always respectfully. Through this process, we have become more innovative and thoughtful with the policies, curriculum, and lessons we implement."

Auto Mechanic
Answer example

"The owner of my shop and I disagreed on the pending termination of one of my employees a short time ago. I wanted to spend time training him a bit more after he missed a few important repairs on customer vehicles. My boss wanted to terminate him immediately. I presented to my him that it would be more expensive to replace him than to re-train. He agreed, and we came to a middle ground."

Event Planner
Answer example

"Working on a budget for an event, I shared it with my boss to get his approval. He wanted to go with a vendor who did flowers for us in the past, because they were cheaper. I explained my experience with them, but my boss insisted we use them. I asked if I could take a couple hours to get bids from a few other florists before we made a decision and he agreed that was a good idea. I ended up finding a better florist with a solid reputation who gave us a great product and we stayed within our budget."

Medical Receptionist
Answer example

"One of the physicians and I disagreed on the way patients should be scheduled. I wanted to spend time training him a bit more. My director wanted to terminate him immediately. I presented to my director that it would be more expensive to replace him than to re-train. He agreed and we came to a middle ground."

Answer example

"I recently read that the average company spends $200-$350 per day on social media advertising. That is a budget that adds up quickly, especially if there is little to no return. I make sure that my work generates conversions by first getting ideas from the audience or my employers' customers. When I know for a fact that I am writing about a topic that is interesting to them, I know it will convert. Second, I make sure to educate the reader. When your audience learns something from you, they are much more likely to subscribe, return to your site, or share your content."

Wildlife Officer
Answer example

"When working as a/an (X position title) for (X company), (... X example of a conflicting situation with a superior). To resolve the situation in a timely fashion, I (... what you did to revolve the situation). I remained respectful and professional and in the end, the situation successfully resolved."

Written by:

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career. Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise. Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 08/10/2016
Last modified on: 12/20/2018

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