During a job interview, the applicant may ask you a question like, “Do you have to deal with a significant amount of conflict in this job”
The applicant may be referring to conflict between employee and customer, especially if the job is in the service or sales industries. However, he is most likely making reference conflict that between one employee and another. In asking this question, there is a good chance that the applicant came from a previous position where he found himself immersed in office politics and contentious relations.
Points to Emphasize
When you answer this question, you’ll want to focus on the company’s willingness to mediate any potential conflicts as they arise.
- Discuss measures and policies the company has in place to combat interoffice conflicts and disagreements.
- Discuss any frequent conflict between employee and customer, and how the company works to resolve it.
- Make mention of any mediation services or policies that back up an employee who may deal with an irate customer.
- Address the company’s commitment to halt any ongoing conflict through its investment in office harmony.
Your answer to this question can reassure the applicant that his safety and value will be taken into account should an issue arise.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
You may not be prepared for this question if you haven’t thought of an answer ahead of time. To give the best response possible, avoid these common mistakes:
- Don’t downplay the amount of conflict if it is in fact steady in the workplace.
- Avoid making your answer sound like the company doesn’t have its employees’ best interests in mind.
- If you say that there isn’t significant conflict, be sure to back it up with more information.
- Avoid saying that you would side with the applicant no matter what, as he may involve himself in conflict that you later deem inappropriate.
The applicant wants to make sure that he will be entering a peaceful and respectful environment, so you’ll want to avoid making him worry unnecessarily.
Below is an example of how to answer a question about the level of conflict within a job:
We pride ourselves on our commitment to providing a safe and peaceful work environment for our employees. We utilize human resources whenever necessary to mediate any inter-office conflict as it arises. We also work to support our employees when they are unduly verbally attacked by customers. We believe that a harmonious atmosphere is important to job satisfaction.
The applicant may ask this important question in an interview to learn more about the way the office is run.