How to answer: Tell me about a time you had a conflict, debate, or disagreement with someone you worked closely with. What was the situation and how did you resolve it?

One of the most common questions in behavioral interviewing. Feel free to use this thread to get feedback on your answers!

One of our fellows answers were (using the Situation, Action, Result) framework was:

S: In one of my computer science class projects, I was responsible for doing the front end with another teammate. My teammate suggested the angular application we are building should use Angular Material style, but I thought we should use Bootstrap style.

A: Then, I discussed this issue with my teammates, and I listened to his reasons for using Material style because my teammate wants to keep the application consistent. And I shared my reason of using bootstrap because other teammates had experience using bootstrap.

R: We considered the pros and cons of either using bootstrap or angular material style. At the end, we decided if we have extra time for this project, we would transform the bootstrap style to angular style to keep it consistent, but now it is easy for everyone in the team to be on the same step.

Overall the structure is on the right track.

Good things:

  1. First thing in the action the fellow immediately shows empathy by first listening to his teammates.
  2. Context is really clear and overall doesn’t spend too much time on the technical aspects. Which is good because this question is more focused on how you interact with people.

Things to improve:

  1. So this answers is a bit too short for this questions and I’d like to see more granularity on how you were able to drive consensus with your teammates. Potentially mentioning how you decided that it was better to get in a room to discuss pros and cons. And how you decided to listening to your teammates first so you could show it wasn’t about “my idea” vs. “yours”, but getting down to the facts about what really would be the best framework for the team.
  2. The result should be focused on what YOU did. Not as much on we. So I’d like to see some result where the impact was attribute to the specific actions you took.

Sometimes if this was asked to someone that has technical experience, they may be curious about the technical details. You don’t have to mention that in the initial answer, but be prepared to explain your technical rationale and know how the technologies work.

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