Describe a Situation in Which You Had to Arrive at a Compromise or Guide Others to a Compromise

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Interviewers will ask different types of questions in order to determine your eligibility as a job candidate. In addition to general questions- you may be asked behavioral interview questions like ‘Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or guide others to a compromise.’

While other interview questions will focus on what you have to offer or what kind of background you have- these questions of a behavioral nature focus on how you have performed on a specific kind of task in your past. When asked questions like these- you have an opportunity to talk about specific talents that have allowed you to perform well in the situation the interviewer wants to know about.

Questions like this one can be tricky because they push you to reflect on what kind of example will give the interviewer the best sense of what you have to offer their team. This specific question is oriented towards conflict resolution. Another way this question might be phrased is ‘How have you been able to resolve conflict in a way that is amenable to both sides?’ Luckily you can take the steps to prepare yourself to answer questions like these in the best possible way by reading these tips and learning about the STAR method for tackling this part of the interview.

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How to Answer the ‘Describe a Situation in Which You Had to Arrive at a Compromise or Guide Others to a Compromise’ Behavioral Interview Question

Think of a Time You Came Up With a Win-Win Solution. It is a normal thing to experience conflicting goals to some degree- whether in the workplace or elsewhere in life. The best kinds of resolutions are those which provide an optimal outcome for both parties involved. While a typical compromise involves both sides sacrificing a little bit- a win-win situation is actually a way of enhancing the outcome of both sides through mutual synergy. These make the best examples with which to answer this question.

Provide a Relevant Context if Possible. While behavioral interview questions like this are open ended because they ask for a situation without providing a specific context like school or work- it is still important to choose an example that gives you an opportunity to demonstrate relevant abilities. For example- if you are applying to work as a chef- it would be better to recall a time when you were able to make a compromise in a cooking job than to recall a time you came to a compromise in an argumentative dispute with your cousin when you were both children.

Demonstrate Your Understanding of Both Perspectives. Since you will be applying to be a member of a team- it is not a good idea to make it sound like you had to lord your way of doing things over someone else’s and felt like it was a sacrifice to you. An interviewer wants to see that you can not only reach an outcome that is desirable for both sides of a conflict of interest- but also that you can understand where the other person is coming from. Empathy and understanding go a long way in any job- and this is a good opportunity to show that you can put yourself in another’s shoes.

Use the STAR Method. The STAR method is a strategy that allows you to hone in on a specific scenario and give good examples that show how you reacted to the circumstances and what resulted. STAR stands for these steps:

  • • Situation or Task
  • • Action
  • • Result

To properly use the STAR method, first think of a specific situation or a task that needed to be completed. It could be an issue or problem, or a goal or project. Next, think about the actions you took in that situation and explain them thoroughly. Finally, talk about what outcome resulted from the way you handled things.

Sample ‘Describe a Situation in Which You Had to Arrive at a Compromise or Guide Others to a Compromise’ STAR Interview Answer

When I was in school, it took a lot of focus for me to be able to get my assignments done on time. At the time I lived in a dorm with a roommate who was required to practice playing a musical instrument every night. The practice rooms were all the way across campus, and he didn’t want to have to make that trip after getting back from class. So, in order to allow him to practice while I studied, I got a pair of isolation headphones. This way I would be able to listen to some light classical music while studying or just leave the headphones on with nothing playing, and they completely cut off the sounds my roommate made while practicing. I was able to accommodate my need to study and complete assignments effectively while maintaining the convenience of an at-home practice space for my roommate. This was a solution he very much appreciated, and both he and I got exemplary grades for our courses that semester.

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