Interview Question: Difference of Opinion on How to Reach a Shared Goal

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: November 30, 2022

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A big part of most interviews is answering behavioral interview questions. Traditional questions typically deal with concrete facts, such as your education or previous work history, but behavioral questions inquire about abstract concepts such as your work ethic, personal attributes or priorities on the job. These kinds of questions have many possible answers and require thorough forethought, which makes them much more difficult to answer strongly. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide exactly what the interviewer is trying to learn so you can focus your answer and incorporate the proper elements.

One of the common behavioral questions is, ‘Describe a situation where others you were working with on a project disagreed with your ideas. What did you do?’ Other forms of this question include, ‘How do you deal with disagreement when collaborating with others?’ and ‘How do you balance your ideas with conflicting ideas from others?’

As you can probably tell, the main point of this question is teamwork, cooperation, and the ability to work well with others. It is important that you focus on these ideas when answering. Of course, every position has different requirements when it comes to this concept, so you should never lose sight of being relevant. You would answer this question differently if interviewing for a leadership position and an entry-level position.

How to Answer the ‘Describe a Situation Where Others You Were Working With on a Project Disagreed With Your Ideas. What Did You Do?’ Behavioral Interview Question

1. Use the STAR Method

You should be familiar with this strategy so you can implement it in your answers. This is a great way to guarantee that your answer has structure and includes all the information that the interviewer is looking for. You should make a point of using STAR when answering all behavioral interview questions.

  • ST – Situation or task. To begin, establish the situation you were in. For this question in particular, you will be describing a problem you faced, so you can include information about how it was a bad situation to contrast with the positive solution you will eventually reach.
  • A – Action. When answering this question, the action section will be the most important and the most extensive. You should describe the specific actions that you took to resolve the problem or disagreement. You should be sure to include details.
  • R – Results. Finally, emphasizing the results of your actions is very important. You should describe how you resolved the issue and how successful the project was because of the cooperation you established.

If you include each of these points, your answer will naturally be very strong. The STAR method is applicable to every behavioral interview question, so be sure to always implement it.

2. Know Which Element to Emphasize

When asked this question, the interviewer will either be interested in your cooperation skills or your leadership skills. You should be able to anticipate which based on the position you are applying for. If you emphasize cooperation, speak about how you were able to come to a compromise and incorporate the best aspects from each team member’s ideas, which resulted in the best possible outcome.

If you are emphasizing your leadership ability, it is acceptable to reject other’s ideas, as you will have to be able to do this tactfully. However, you should also make it clear that you were in pursuit of improvement and you made sure that the result came first, regardless of whether that meant using your own ideas or others.

3. Be Relevant to the Position You Are Applying For

You are not in control of whether your previous job is related to the job you are entering, but it will be much more effective if you are able to choose an example that relates. Even if it is from a completely different field, some aspects may be universal, such as communication, business practices, or decision,making.

Sample ‘Describe a Situation Where Others You Were Working With on a Project Disagreed With Your Ideas. What Did You Do?’ STAR Interview Answer

A few team members, including myself, were tasked with establishing a new sales procedure to improve efficiency while prioritizing customer satisfaction. I was mostly concerned with meeting all of the customers’ needs, but a coworker was concerned that I was not following our instructions by neglecting efficiency. At first it seemed like we were in total conflict, but I was able to get him to realize that we were each concerned with two halves of the solution. Only by combining our two contributions would we be able to succeed. We focused on the areas we excelled in and found a way to fit them together, creating a procedure that is still in use with the company and improved efficiency by nearly 15 percent.

By implementing these simple tips, you will be able to answer all of the behavioral interview questions without hesitation.

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