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Competency Interview Questions

25 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.

Competency was updated on May 4th, 2019. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 25

How do you deal with conflict on your team?

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Competency Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    How do you deal with conflict on your team?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking to hear about your ability to communicate with your team and professionally handle issues when they arise.

      Think of an example where you worked closely with your team to resolve a conflict. You could also offer a scenario where you mediated an issue between two coworkers. Show that you can keep your head on your shoulders when dealing with conflict.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have strong conflict management skills and in my current position, have had to exercise those skills from time to time. We are in a high-stress, highly commissioned work environment which can cause a lot of unnecessary conflict among the team. When a conflict arises, I like to deal with it swiftly, openly, and with poise. Transparency and openness are how I lead my team, so I will call a group meeting where we express concerns and get it all out on the table."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "When there is conflict, I will address the issue head-on, with expediency, and open communication. Hearing the problem before deciding on a solution, and perhaps most importantly, hearing the parties out is most important. I believe in allowing the stakeholders have a say in what they think will work best for them, and then work together to create a solution that will work best for everyone."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "Conflict is a normal part of running a business. It can help to offer clear, open, and honest communication among team members. To prevent conflict, as much as possible, I manage my team with those particular values."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "I think a bit of conflict is good for a team: we all have a right to voice our opinions and know it's okay to disagree. As we disagree, we find new spaces for growth and new directions to take because of those uncomfortable conversations. As long as it remains in check and everyone behaves as adults and treats one another and our differing opinions with respect, conflict can be very beneficial."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "Conflict in teams is inevitable, especially when you work long hours or are in danger of hitting specific sales targets. I handle conflict with respect, and the intent to understand the other person by listening."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "In a sales environment, competition is necessary and its integral to the fiber of the organization. However, it can prove problematic, especially among those on the same team who are supposed to work collaboratively, but ultimately are competing. On one occasion, the two buyers who reported to me got into a verbal argument. I calmly pulled them both off the floor to a private room. We were able to get to the heart of the issue. It boiled down to one feeling the other was trying to be his manager when he had no authority over him. By communicating job tasks and making a clear division of power, we solved the issue."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "We often have philosophical differences in how we approach teaching, so these typically came to a head during curriculum writing. When we disagree, I try to take a leadership role and mediate the disagreement. Let everyone; myself included, have their few minutes to speak on the issue and then see where we can find common ground. Usually, there's at least a sliver of commonality, and we can all get through the disagreement."

      Ryan's Answer for a Dispatcher Interview

      "I have strong conflict management skills and in my current position, have had to exercise those skills from time to time. Transportation is a high-stress work environment which can cause a lot of unnecessary conflicts among the team. When a conflict arises, I like to deal with it swiftly, openly, and with poise. Transparency and openness is how I lead my team so I will call a group meeting where we express concerns and get it all out on the table."

      Ryan's Answer for a FBI Interview

      "I have strong conflict management skills and in my current position, have had to exercise those skills from time to time. We are in a high-stress, high stakes work environment which can trigger conflict among the team. When a conflict arises, I like to deal with it swiftly, openly, and with poise. Transparency and openness are important to me in the workplace."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Heavy Equipment Operator Interview

      "I have strong conflict management skills and in my current position, have had to exercise those skills from time to time. We are in a high-stress, highly commissioned work environment which can cause a lot of unnecessary conflict among the team. When a conflict arises, I like to deal with it swiftly, openly, and with poise. Transparency and openness is how I lead my team so I will call a group meeting where we express concerns and get it all out on the table."

      Elisabeth's Answer for a Wildland Firefighter Interview

      "One of my coworkers had a bad attitude and kept snapping at people on the team one day. It's important for us to work together at all times, even if one of us is having a bad day. I pulled him aside and asked what was going on. I listened and comforted him and then gave him a pep talk. I told him we needed him on the team and that he was doing a great job. The rest of the day went much more smoothly."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Service Station Attendants Interview

      "In my previous role as a Service Station Manager, I ensured the delivery of excellent customer service by training my team to be positive-minded and encouraging to everyone around them. Customers can tell when someone wants to help them versus being forced to because it's their job. Together, we created a friendly and welcoming environment that our regular customers greatly appreciated."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sous Chef Interview

      "I resolved a conflict, just last week, between two of my kitchen helpers. They had a disagreement about the schedule and booked time off. I resolved this through sitting down with each of them individually, and then together. We came down to the basis of the issue and resolved it quickly through strong communication."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Chiropractor Interview

      "Some time ago I had an unhappy patient who felt that my fee was too high. Even though she was happy with her treatment, she refused to pay for her service before leaving. Rather than cause a scene around my other patients, I asked her to leave and to not return again. I took the loss and moved on. Some battles just aren't worth fighting."

      Heather's Answer for a Pharmacist Interview

      "I had a situation with a Provider who had over dosed a patient and miscalculated the weight of a patient. After professional discussion, we realized it was a miscommunication and the Dr. misread a patient weight. He may not have admitted guilt but he walked away and didn't raise his voice after I brought the error to his attention."

      2 Community Answers

      Anonymous Answer

      "I deal with conflict diplomatically. I believe in resolving conflict through open communication and understanding the other side's point of view because I might not know the full story of why the person is acting negatively towards me. It could be that the person is undergoing something personal. Through communication, I could show empathy and positively resolve our misunderstanding."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Showing empathy and a full understanding of the situation is a strong approach to ensuring any conflict is kept to a minimum. You sound like a very clear and conscientious communicator.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I think a bit of conflict is good for a team: we all have a right to voice our opinions and know it's okay to disagree. As we disagree, we find new spaces for growth and new directions to take because of those uncomfortable conversations. As long as everyone respects this then the conflict is beneficial. If it isn't, however, then it's important to address this in a calm, open manner. If everyone feels like their beliefs have been listened to then everyone can work together to find a common solution."

      Stephanie's Answer

      This is a very thoughtful response, and it's evident that you have a true growth mindset. Not everyone feels comfortable with conflict at work, and the fact that you highlight how healthy conflict can be beneficial really makes your response stand out.

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