Give Me a Specific Example of a Time When You Had to Do Something You Did Not Agree With


Now more than ever- interviewers are asking about your past behaviors in the workplace. The question will usually ask about a conflictual situation. Is the best type of response to not reveal any conflicts or is it better to delve into the dark side of office politics? It seems daunting to try to think about the best answer.

While it may seem intimidating that a potential employer will ask about conflict in an interview- it is not as negative as it seems. This is a type of interview approach that uses the answers of the interviewee to gauge aspects of personality- motivation- and work-style. Interviewers use behavioral interview questions like this to uncover your behavioral competency and suitability to the culture of their company.

Instead of just asking about what professional organizations you belong to- employers really want to find out how flexible you are. In certain situations- can you set aside your desires and opinions to engage with the team in a common goal? They may phrase the question as ‘How do you express your disagreement in a staff meeting?’

The STAR method is the ideal approach to prepare for interview questions like this. It is an excellent framework for formulating all kinds of answers to behavioral questions.

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How to Answer The ‘Give Me a Specific Example of a Time When You Had to Do Something You Did Not Agree With’ Behavioral Interview Question

Be an Interview STAR. The STAR method is an excellent way to formulate an answers for behavioral interview questions. STAR is an acronym. The S and T stand for identifying a situation or task that addresses the behavioral question asked. A stands for the action taken to fully respond to the situation or task. The R is for the results that directly come from your actions. Showing a logical sequence of how you dealt proactively with a situation and the positive results that came out of it is what interviewers want to see. The positive results that come from your actions need to be made as straightforward and quantifiable as possible. This enables your interviewer to directly make the connection between your actions and results that made a positive impact.

How Do You Handle Disagreement Dynamics? How you talk about handling the dynamics of disagreement in the workplace tells your employer vast amounts of information about what type of employee you will be. Do you communicate glibness about the situation- or are you sincere? You will want to speak with objectivity when discussing disagreement. Avoid dwelling on others’ actions in the situation. Even though it seems unnatural to almost solely talk about yourself- you are at the interview to let your potential employer how you handle difficult situations- not to talk negatively about what another coworker did.

Communication Works Wonders. You will want to showcase that you are willing to interact when the going gets tough in the workplace. Display that you can deal with conflict directly. Employers need to feel confident that their employees will find a way to talk their differences it out and compromise for the good of the company instead of shutting others out. In the high stakes world of business- some conflict is inevitable and the lines of dialogue need to be kept open. You will look good by showing you can initiate communication.

Are You a Team Player? Potential employers will want to know that you will never let personal wants or desires get in the way of what will work best for the continuing operations of the company. Interviewers will want to hear that you will directly take on a task for the company regardless of whether you personally agree with it or not. Show them that you see conflict as an opportunity to fully engage with your team for greater growth and innovation.

Sample ‘Give Me a Specific Example of a Time When You Had to Do Something You Did Not Agree With’ STAR Interview Answer

I was on the convention planning committee for our company. I did not agree with the majority’s choice of a downtown location- since I favored a more rural location that would be easily accessible for our participants. I stated my viewpoint that a location outside downtown would enable participants to focus on convention content- but my opinion did not win. The result was that I had to participate in planning this gathering at a location I did not support. Instead of letting negative feelings take control of my actions- I made a choice to do my best to ensure that the chosen convention venue would contribute to a positive experience for all.

This led to me spearheading initiatives to increase accessibility and comfort at our inner-city convention location. I researched shuttles from the airport to our downtown convention in order to streamline attendees’ arrivals. By making a specialized map of where workshops and speakers were located- we had fewer lost attendees. This led clients who attended the convention to give the most positive feedback we have ever had for our company conventions. The convention was the most successful ever in terms of signing new clients and extending contracts with present customers.

Employers see behavioral interview questions as a major determinant of your success in their company. Utilize these tips to optimize your achievement at the interview.