If I Were Your Supervisor And Asked You To Do Something That You Disagreed With, What Would You Do?

LiveCareer Staff Writer
by LiveCareer Staff Writer
Published On : May 30, 2017 

This can be a tricky question to answer because the hiring manager doesn’t want you to either refuse or fold. Instead, the hiring manager is most likely asking the question to find out how you deal with disagreement, and also how far you will go to make yourself heard.

Emphasizing whether or not you would actually do the thing, in the end, is less likely to be important, because the interviewer realizes that persuasion is a negotiation and that no one is always right or wrong, so focus on that process.

Points to Emphasize

Here are a few key strategies that can help you put together the most positive response you can.

  • Break down the steps you would take, to show how you try to resolve misunderstandings and disputes.
  • Keep the language neutral, and highlight communication strategies over the disagreement itself.
  • Show flexibility, providing a couple of options that show how the resolution might go either way.
  • If you can, demonstrate your integrity by establishing your boundaries as an employee.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

Make sure you step around the following obstacles when you frame your answer.

  • Never send an ultimatum, even in a hypothetical. It comes off as escalating and sends the message that you can’t be negotiated with.
  • Try not to be too absolute in general. This can make you seem unreasonable.
  • Don’t assume what the disagreement will be, or that it will be the supervisor at fault.
  • Beware of coming off like a know-it-all. This isn’t an opportunity to show how you correct a supervisor.

Sample Answer

This one walks the middle ground. Try to come up with something similar for your interview.

Well, first of all, I would try to make sure I understood the situation. Especially if I was being asked to do something that would normally be against the rules. Once I was sure I understood what I was being asked to do, if it was still an issue, I would explain my misgivings. After that, if it’s just a matter of procedure, I’m doing things the boss’s way because supervisors have a different view of the situation. If it’s an issue of safety or another major concern, though, I would not act until I was sure that what I was doing would not be harmful to our overall project.

The key here is to show that you are going to be thinking about what you’re asked to do, but that you’re not going to be too resistant to change if a situation calls for quickness and adaptability.

About the Author

LiveCareer Staff Writer

At LiveCareer, we live and breathe the belief that we can help people transform their work lives, and so do our contributors. Our experts come from a variety of backgrounds but have one thing in common: they are authorities on the job market. From journalists with years of experience covering workforce topics, to academics who study the theory behind employment and staffing, to certified resume writers whose expertise in the creation of application documents offers our readers insights into how to best wow recruiters and hiring managers, LiveCareer’s stable of expert writers are among the best in the business. Whether you are new to the workforce, are a seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, LiveCareer’s contributors will help you move the needle on your career and get the job you want faster than you think.


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