Most used conflict management interview questions and answers

Have you ever been asked interview questions on conflict resolution or interview questions on conflict management? How did you answer? Behavioural interview questions about conflict resolution are designed to test your responses to high stakes situations. Answers to conflict resolution interview questions give the interviewer insight into how you would likely respond to such a situation in the workplace. So, how do you answer conflict management interview questions? 

How to answer interview questions about conflict?

Any interviewer is looking for the following things when it comes to conflict interview questions. 

  • Listening/Understanding: an interviewer wants to see your ability to hear out the issues between the parties and understand their point of view.
  • Objectivity: if the conflict is between parties not including yourself, the interviewer wants to see your ability to remain objective. 
  • A focus on a mutually acceptable resolution: an interviewer wants to see your ability to resolve the conflict actively and successfully. 

Why you conflict management skills are key

Different ways an interviewer can ask you about conflict resolution

When it comes to conflict management questions, there are numerous ways an interviewer can ask a conflict resolution interview question. Traditionally and interviewer will start with a behavioural type of question. They may ask, “Tell me about a time you resolved a conflict?”. They are trying to understand they approach you might take in a real-life scenario.  This an approach usually starts with a closed interview question about conflict. They may ask, “Do you have much experience managing conflict?” From here they usually ask as series of behavioural questions. It’s important to know how to manage conflict interview questions Below is a list of commonly asked interview questions for conflict resolution. 

Most common conflict interview questions and answers

1. Tell me about a team project when you had to work with someone difficult.

This is a tricky one. It’s important you highlight the difficulty and not place blame or identify the person as the problem.  In this instance ensure you highlight the difficulty of the situation. For example, you might say “Mike was having some difficulty processing payments” instead of “Mike was a big problem in our team”. What we want to highlight here is the difference between the problem and the person facing it. You want to highlight understanding. 

2. Give an example of a time you had to respond to an unhappy manager/customer/colleague.

In answering this question, we also want to demonstrate our ability to de-escalate emotion. This is a key example of an interviewer asking for you to demonstrate listening and problem-solving skills. Start by naming the emotions experienced by the manager/customer/colleague and explain how through listening to their concerns and making them feal heard, you were able to reduce the high emotion they were experiencing. From here you want to make it clear that once you had a clear under understanding of their needs you could problem solve and find an option that was suitable. 

3. Tell me about a time that you disagreed with a rule or approach.

In responding to this question, you want to demonstrate your ability to disagree with respect and in a way that doesn’t cause conflict or interpersonal difficulty. You might start by saying, “This rule or approach didn’t align with my values and/or the objective data I have on hand”. Also ensure that you acknowledge the other party’s point of view. 

4. How do you handle conflict? Give me an example.

This broad question is asking for your specific approach to how you handle conflict. It’s important to demonstrate that you’re not reactive. You want to highlight your ability to remain calm objective and insightful under pressure. When responding to this question, identify that you understand that conflict is made up of a variety of elements. Share that it’s made up of deescalating emotion and solving a substantive issue. Then demonstrate your application of these elements. How did you reduce the emotion? And how did you solve the actual problem at hand?

5. Explain a situation when you disagreed with your boss and how you handled it.

This question is essentially asking how you disagree with people. More specifically how do you disagree when there is a distinct power asymmetry at play. In other words, how do you disagree with someone who has more power than you?

With any question addressing a power asymmetry it’s important to highlight two key points. Respect and asserting your own point of view. In answering this question ensure you demonstrate respect for your boss’s opinion and perhaps even acknowledge that they are the ultimate decision maker. Secondly this question is asking how do you assert yourself? It’s important to highlight that you are fair and that your opinion is based off objective data and reasoning.  

6. Explain a situation when you disagreed with a rule or policy and how you handled it.

This question is all about highlighting our ability to be objective. In other words, the interviewer is trying to understand how effective you are at articulating your concerns in the face of a rule or policy. How effective are you at structuring a logical non emotional argument. It’s important to think about using data and evidence when responding to this question. 


Interview question on conflict resolution can be tricky. It’s important to its important to be prepared for these types of questions. You can prepare by consider some of the questions above. It might be worth engaging in some self-reflection. Spend some time think about conflict in your professional life. How do you resolve it? Think of examples and scenarios that easy to remember and easy to share. 

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