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Tell me about a time there was a serious conflict on your team. How did you resolve it?

1 of 25 Teamwork Interview Questions and Answers Written by Rachelle Enns

Updated on November 16th, 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

When cooperating with groups of people from different backgrounds and various work styles, conflict is inevitable. Think of an example of when your team experienced a conflict. Be sure to highlight how you skillfully handled these conflict issues.

Professional Answer Examples
General
Answer example

"One of the employees on my team was due to present at an industry conference, but he fell behind and couldn't put everything together in time. Everyone on our team was disappointed in his lack of commitment, and many people were upset with him. I was not scheduled to present, but I stepped in to cover for him. This situation meant I had to rearrange my schedule, cancel meetings and postpone a lunch event, but my company needed this presentation to be successful. I will always go above and beyond for my team, even when it isn't the most convenient."

Admin
Answer example

"My previous company went through a merger last year, and the amount of tension amongst the team was quite extreme. People did not know if they were going to lose their jobs, get their year-end bonus' and more. Everyone was sharp with each other, but I chose to take the kindness route. I was a friendly face through it all and kept a positive outlook. I know that I did my part to help the negativity."

Manager
Answer example

"Two of my team members were in a feud over a process that they were both misinterpreting. Normally, I do not get involved in the smaller conflicts as I believe that grown adults can iron things out without mediation, for the most part. This event was different. I called a meeting between the three of us and let them know they were both incorrect. They were a bit embarrassed about the whole event and allowed me to re-train them in the process, the correct way."

Marketing
Answer example

"We have two content writers with very different styles. They are both very talented, but their techniques often don't work well within the same campaign. They were recently forced to work together on a significant campaign we had on the go. They ended up in a huge fight, insulting each others' writing style, and more. I jumped in and mediated the situation, complementing them on their methods, and suggesting ways that their techniques could complement each other. I think that seeing the possibilities through the eyes of an outsider was helpful to them and they delivered a fantastic product."

Retail
Answer example

"We recently had two employees fighting over a customer. One associated insisted they greeted them first and the other insisted they did not poach. To solve the issue, I split the commission between the two of them. Neither was happy about the situation, but it made them more aware, moving forward, of the whereabouts of their customer."

Sales
Answer example

"Salespeople can sometimes be a bit ego driven because we are competitive by nature. I had a couple of sales reps who were arguing over which territory a certain client belonged. The client had an office in each of their territories, so they both wanted the client. I suggested that the sales rep who had the company's HQ in their territory should take both offices. Problem solved!"

Teacher
Answer example

"We have a pretty cohesive faculty, so arguments don't happen in our team. If a situation between colleagues were to occur, I would be the mediator by nature. I am a calm person and can think outside the box when it comes to problem-solving."

Bank Compliance Officer
Answer example

"When working as a/an (X position title) for (X company), (... X example of a conflicting situation with a coworker or superior). To resolve the situation in a timely fashion, I (... what you did to revolve the situation). I remained respectful and professional at all times and ensured that my coworker/superior had to chance to be heard (...). In the end, the situation resolved and we were able to successfully work as a team to complete the project by the deadline."

Forester
Answer example

"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, remote 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."

Medical Coder
Answer example

"One of my co-workers wasn't carrying their weight, which meant everyone else had more work to do. I chatted with her one day at lunch, and she shared some personal issues that had been interfering and we agreed she needed some help with her projects. We all met with our boss and we determined a temporary solution to help her while she resolved her issues outside of work."

Pipefitter
Answer example

"Last month I had a conflict with a co-worker who was not abiding by the company's safety regulations. I brought it up and this particular individual became very defensive. I walked away from the situation and the next day, he apologized for overreacting. He committed to put safety first, which was great."

Autopsy Assistant
Answer example

"There have been times that my coworkers and I have had miscommunication. We've been able to sort out our issues by talking it out and coming to an agreement together."

Ticket Agent
Answer example

"When working as a/an (X position title) for (X company), (... X example of a conflicting situation with a co-worker). To resolve the situation in a timely fashion, I (... what you did to revolve the situation). I remained respectful and professional at all times and ensured that my coworker had to chance to be heard (...). In the end, the situation resolved and we were able to successfully work as a team to complete the project by the deadline."

Assistant Manager
Answer example

"One of the guys on my team was suppose to present on a topic for a conference, but he got behind and couldn't put everything together in time. I was not scheduled to present, but I stepped in to cover for him. This meant I had to rearrange my schedule, cancel meetings and postpone something I was working on, but the team needed someone to show up."

Clinical Laboratory Technician
Answer example

"I've learned not to take words or actions of stressed patients personally. Even when I'm feeling rushed or overwhelmed by a deadline and being pulled in too many directions, I can ground myself knowing that I'm providing the best customer service and caring for my patients the best way that I can."

Landscaping
Answer example

"One of my coworkers wasn't pulling their weight. We worked together at a retail shop and I noticed they weren't following our manager's instructions, and when they did, they were lazy about it, putting very little effort into their work. Instead of getting frustrated, I asked him what was going. I told him I noticed he wasn't really taking his work seriously. He explained that he had a lot going on with his family and it was difficult to focus. I asked what I could do to help and told him I was there for him. He really appreciated the support. Over the next couple weeks, I noticed he was making more effort. We also started taking our lunch breaks together more often to give him a chance to vent about life."

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.
First written on: 08/28/2016
Last modified on: 11/16/2018

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