How to answer the interview question “Give me an example of a time when you had a conflict in a professional environment”

Welcome back! If you have been following along and coming to the site every day, I owe you an apology. The initial plan was to write one blog post a day for 31 business days. However, the last two days I have not posted a blog post because work has been extremely hectic and required more attention. But I am back now and ready to tackle a really difficult question today, “Give me an example of a time when you had a conflict in a professional environment.”

This is a classic “walk the line” question. By that I mean answering it is a combination of revealing a challenge but at the same time, not making yourself look bad. It’s like “what is your biggest weakness” or “what would you like to improve upon”.

There are a few keys to answering this question correctly. The first key is your answer can’t be total BS. It needs to be a believable scenario in which a reasonable person could find themselves in while in an office setting. If you make the scenario seems improbable, it’s going to throw up red flags.

The second key is make the conflict one that makes you look reasonable and professional. At the end of the day, using an example where you and a colleague whom you respect had slightly different approaches to accomplish the same thing is probably best.

Thirdly, your example must demonstrate your ability to listen to their reasons and ultimately explain your reasoning well enough for your colleague to come over to your side and agree with you. The term conflict could mean quite a bit of different things in this scenario. It could mean an actual disagreement in which people become slightly unprofessional or it could just be a civil disagreement on approach. It will always serve you better to use an example in which everyone acts professional.

As long as you can do those three things, you should be fine. This is an example of a question you should practice answering. Have the scenario thought out and ready to go. If you have to think about this on the spot, odds are the story won’t come out as you would like. You also want to make sure you are direct and to the point. When people recall stories, they occasionally tend to let the stories drag on. If you can avoid that, it’s a great idea. Be direct and to the point.

Well there you have it. If you do those things you should have an easy time answering this question. Make sure you come back tomorrow when we answer the interview question “Tell me about a time you disappointed a customer”. If you liked this post, please share it or like it on social media. Thanks for reading and remember, there is never a bad time to hear about a great opportunity.

How to answer the interview question “What do you consider to be your biggest strength?”

Welcome back to 31 Interview questions in 31 days! For the record, I mean 31 business days. I figure you all don’t want to be reading about interview questions on your weekend. Yesterday we discussed how to answer the interview question, Why are you interested in this role? If you haven’t read that one, feel free to check it out. Today however, we will cover the interview question, “What do you consider to be your biggest strengths?”

Now, this is another question that should be relatively easy to answer. However, if you are not ready to answer this question it can be disastrous. Imagine you are interviewing someone and you ask them what they are good at. Then imagine they have no idea what they are good at and have trouble answering your question. What kind of confidence would that inspire?

So, the first key to answering this question well is be prepared. If you stammer and stutter and struggle to find a way that you are above average, they will not struggle with having serious concerns about your candidacy.

The second key is that your key strength will be one that will allow you to be successful in the role you are applying for. If your answer is contradictory to the bulk of the responsibilities of the role, then that’s really not helping your case much. So, don’t lie, but look at the role and the industry. Find one of your skills that will allow you to flourish in the environment and pick that one.

Finally, you must find a way to not come off cocky. You want to inspire confidence and at the same time come off as a mix of humble and confidence. Perhaps work in how it’s a strength because you have really worked hard and put in effort to develop it as a strength.

There you have it! As long as you are prepared and the strength is relevant, you will do just fine. If you liked this post, please like and share it! Also, come back tomorrow when we tackle the interview question, “Where do you want to be in 5 years?” As always, have a great day and remember, there is never a bad time to hear about a great opportunity!

How to answer the interview question “Why are you looking for a new role?”

This is day one of 31 interview questions in 31 days. If you are wondering what this is all about check out yesterday’s post, 31 Interview Questions in 31 Days, detailing my plan for the next month. Today we will start with a question you will be asked virtually every time you interview, why are you looking for a new role? This one is first up so let’s tackle it!

In just about every interview you ever take, you will be asked why you are looking for a new role. In every corporate interview, I have ever conducted it has been on my interview form. Every head hunting call I have ever made, if the conversation progressed, I would ask why they are interested in entertaining a new opportunity. The fact of the matter is if you ever plan on interviewing again, odds are you will need to answer this question.

So, let’s start with why. Why do recruiters and hiring manages alike ask this question? The reason is that there are good and bad ways to answer. An example of a good way to answer it is, “Well I am not actively looking, but I have always admired your company and the description for the role sounds exciting”. They might push further because the assumption is that if you are willing to leave then something must be wrong, but generally speaking, that is a good way to answer that question.

An example of a bad way to answer the questions is, “Um, I don’t know, I just wanted to see what else is out there”. That answer is bad because it doesn’t inspire confidence in your desire to ultimately take the job. From a recruiter perspective, it is just really important to know the candidate’s motivation. If they let you know they are looking for a new role because they don’t see any realistic way to move up within their current organization, it’s something you want to emphasize your company having, assuming that’s the case. Also, if you ever find that candidate accepting your offer and then receiving a counter offer, it’s important to be able to remind them exactly why they were looking in the first place. Does that counter offer you were just extended solve your original reasons for looking for employment elsewhere?

So, let’s talk about answering this question. Let’s assume you are already employed, because if you are unemployed then answering this question is much more straight forward, you are looking for a new job. So, start by establishing leverage, “I am actually not really looking, I am quite happy where I currently am, I just so happen to stumble upon this position and it really intrigued me”. By answering the question in this manner, you let them know that you aren’t desperate, you would be perfectly fine going back to your current job if this doesn’t work out and that if they really want you they are going to have to bring it.

There is a possibility they will push further and try to get a deeper answer. They might say something like, “well sure but there must be some reason why you are entertaining other opportunities”. I like responding to that question by saying something along the lines of while you really enjoy your current role, you don’t see a lot of future growth, development opportunities or ways for you to expand the scope of your work. This gives them the additional “why” they are looking for while also positioning you as someone who seeks development.

You must avoid sounding like you don’t care about this role and are doing it for kicks. That is the wrong way to establish leverage. You also must avoid saying negative things about your current employer. They may all be true but you will come off as difficult to work with. There you have it. If you do those things you will have done a great job answering that question. Tomorrow we will tackle the question likely to come up next, “why are you interested in this role?” So, come back and find out the secret to answering that question. Thanks for reading and remember, there is never a bad time to hear about a great opportunity!