Dreaded interview question no. 1: Facing a conflict

In the next few instalments of the jobs24 blog we are going to be tackling some of our most dreaded interview questions. We’ve all had one of those moments in an interview where you’re presented with a question which makes your mind go blank – hopefully these step-by-step guides will help you go into your next interview with the confidence to answer any question that’s thrown at you.Job_Interview_1

Preparing for an interview can seem like an impossible task. How can you guess what they will ask? What if they throw in a curveball question? The important thing to remember is that there aren’t as many questions as you might think – they just appear in different guises.

Your interviewer might change the wordings but essentially they will only ask you five types of question:

  1. The conflict question
  2. The goal question
  3. The character questions
  4. The initiative question
  5. The opinion question

To begin with we will focus on the conflict question. This question can come in many different forms but in essence it just gives you a space to show off your interpersonal skills and problem solving ability. This can be a difficult question because in interviews we tend to focus exclusively on the positive. However it is important to acknowledge conflict and demonstrate that you can act professionally in difficult situations.

The best way to do this is to use the STAR method:

  1. Situation or Task: Remember to outline your situation in a clear and concise manner. The interviewer doesn’t need to know the boring details. Try and outline the situation or task that you were presented with in 4 or 5 bullet points only.
  2. Action: Here you should sum up the action that you took. It’s good to demonstrate communication skills. For example, ‘There had been a chain of miscommunications via email so I decided to talk with my colleague directly and listened carefully to what he/she had to say before explaining my own position in a calm, professional manner.’
  3. Result: It’s important to demonstrate pride in what you’ve achieved in your previous position. If you’re pleased with the way you diffused a situation then let it show! It is also helpful at this point to mention a positive outcome for the company. For example, ‘as a result of my efforts the company saw an increase in sales and I formed valuable working relationships.’

This is a great question to practice answering before an interview because it helps you prepare precise examples. Just remember the simple steps of the STAR method and your interview technique is sure to make you shine!

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