Answering the job interview question: “Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.”

Answering the job interview question: “Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.”

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Every relationship, both personal and professional, encounters some sort of conflict. This is why disagreements at work, especially with your manager, are bound to happen. When the person who might end up being your boss asks you how you have dealt with managerial conflict in the past, it might cause a little bit of anxiety. The good news is that there is a great formula for answering this interview question and we are excited to share it with you.

Variations of this question

?Tell me about a time you experienced conflict at work.? ?Tell me about a time when you had an issue with a co-worker.? ?How would you handle a conflict at work?.?

What the hiring manager is looking for

Hiring managers ask about you disagreeing with your previous manager to get a sense of how you might disagree with them once you are hired. They are curious about the respect you show to a higher authority while having the courage enough to stand up for what you believe in. Hiring managers want someone who can tell them they are wrong in a way that builds a relationship.

What your goal should be

Your goal is to share a story where you disagreed with your manager and you were right about the disagreement. The reason you want to be right is that your story should ideally show how competent you are at your work, which will give the hiring manager confidence in hiring you. This answer can also display other great skills such as negotiating, selling an idea, and inspiring others.

Preparing for this question

Start by thinking of stories when you disagreed with your manager. Your story should have the following qualities:

  • It should align well with the position you are applying for.
  • It should have ended well and perhaps even helped your relationship or conflict resolution process improve.
  • Ideally, your story should be one where you were in the right. This will allow you to show your ability to perform a job responsibility well.
  • It should also show great conflict resolution tactics such as showing respect, prioritizing facts and evidence over opinion, and listening/acknowledging each other?s points of view.

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