Conflict is always present in the workplace. For example, if you urinate on your supervisor’s sandwich, chances are you are going to have an argument at some point in the future. In an effort to judge whether or not you can deal with conflict effectively, the hiring manager may ask you directly: Do you deal with it head on, or do you avoid it?
How to Answer
This is a tough one. Both are bad answers, yet you were given two clear choices. You are not asked how you deal with conflict, you are asked which of those two choices would you do. Deal with it head on and you may be seen as confrontational. Avoid it and you may seem weak or timid.
This is one of the few times where acting unsure may be in your benefit. Normally delivering an answer with confidence and ease is preferred, but this is a tough question, with two wrong answers. So rather than answer it confidently, answer it as though you have never thought about it before because you have never experience the type of conflict that would require either.
“I would attack it head on. Let the person know exactly how I feel and make sure we resolve the conflict immediately.”
So are you also going to punch them in the face?
“What an interesting question. Hm… I suppose it depends on the problem. There is no reason to be confrontational over non-recurring issues without any long term consequences, but certainly I think I would deal with a problem head on if I expect it to be a recurring issue.”
This way you show yourself as a strong individual with good morals – and one that has never experienced enough conflict to have considered this topic before.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Don’t deliver this answer too confidently.
- Discuss the different situations that would change your response.