Tell Me a Time You Faced a Difficult Situation With a Colleague

Tell Me a Time You Faced a Difficult Situation With a Colleague

Why would they ask “Can you tell me about a time you faced a difficult situation with a colleague?”

Obviously, the wording can vary, but the strategy behind the question is the same. Behavioral questions are asked to see how you would react to certain situations if you are hired. Just because the hiring manager is asking a negative question, does not mean you can’t give a positive answer! Basically, you need to express that you can settle conflicts in a professional manner.

This should not be difficult as it is always unacceptable to handle any altercation in any other way. Use the below guidelines to structure your answer and separate yourself from the other candidates. For a similar scenario, see our article Have You Ever Had Trouble Working With A Manager?

You have a choice to make

Conflicts come about in the workplace quite frequently. If you have been able to avoid conflicts and have gotten along with all your co-workers, nice work! You then would be able to describe these scenarios and your answer would be positive. The only problem with this is the hiring manager may think you do whatever necessary to avoid conflict. Not a good trait if you work in a competitive industry.

If this sounds like you, we would advise you mentally put yourself in a difficult situation. This will give you the opportunity to create a conflict resolution scenario and provide the solution you think is best. If you are like most of us, we are sure that you have many conflicts you have experienced in the workplace. Just because "conflict" is a negative word, positive resolutions are often the result! Ideas are challenged constantly, and usually for the better. If you can use this mindset to answer your question, you should be able to spin this question.

Now, if a colleague is throwing a fit and yelling obscenities, this is a situation you want to avoid describing! You want to express your professionalism while showing you do not fear common workplace conflicts. Ideally, you have a story about you and a coworker disagreeing and then working together to find a solution.

Closing thoughts

If you can include the above, you should be able to form an adequate answer. There are some other factors that you can expand on to strengthen your response.

Try to show your ability in identifying possible conflicts. This will speak volumes to your awareness of factors that can lead to conflicts.

Also, showing the maturity to know that you only have control of yourself will give that extra boost to your answer. The hiring manager will believe that you will mind your business and act in a professional manner if hired. See our example answer below!

Sample answer

"At my previous employer, we would have weekly board meetings and tension would rise on occasion. So much so, that people would begin raising their voices and on some occasions, even crying. I was sure to check my emotions at the door. If voices were raised and it was my turn to talk, I made sure that I spoke in a professional manner and at a normal speaking volume. This usually calmed the room and we were able to get back to a productive meeting atmosphere. I take pride in my ability, even as a junior employee (if this applies), to calm the room if necessary. I believe this is one of my strongest traits!"

If you need some extra help preparing for your job interview, Find My Profession offers expert interview training that we guarantee will help you land your dream job.

Top Articles

  • 1 50 Top Job Interview Questions and Answers
  • 2 The 5 Best Websites to Find Six-Figure Salary Jobs
  • 3 5 Executive Career Services for Six-Figure Earners
  • 4 How to Find a Job on LinkedIn
  • Breaking Down the Salary History Inquiry Ban

    Breaking Down the Salary History Inquiry Ban

    Recent laws passed in major cities in the United States now make it illegal for those involved in hiring to inquire about a job candidate’s salary history. We break down exactly what this means for you and where the laws apply. However, these laws may not apply to you depending on where you live or the type of company you work for.

    Find My Profession by The FMP Contributor
    Read On
  • What Makes Your LinkedIn Profile and Resume Different

    What Makes Your LinkedIn Profile and Resume Different

    A common mistake people make with their LinkedIn profile is copying everything from the resume and pasting it on LinkedIn. The main problem with this logic is that your LinkedIn profile is not “just a resume”. In fact, resumes and LinkedIn profiles are very different. For one thing, they are seen by many more people each day than your resume.

    Find My Profession by The FMP Contributor
    Read On
  • The Power of Vision Focused Planning

    The Power of Vision Focused Planning

    Planning has always been the secret sauce for me when it comes to all areas of my life. However, I have seen how planning without true vision can lead to misery. Yes, planning works when you stick to your plan, but it is the vision that glues us to our commitments and holds our feet to the fire. Below we talk about the power of focused vision.

    Find My Profession by Jasmine Briggs
    Read On
See All Articles