Start now Start now

Interview questions about conflict management

Use these interview questions about conflict management to see how candidates tackle and solve problems in the workplace and address complaints with tact.

Why you should ask candidates about their conflict management skills

Employees who are strong on conflict management have a more constructive approach to dealing with arguments, complaints, and differences of opinion. These employees can:

  • solve interpersonal problems quickly and effectively;
  • handle customer complaints;
  • maintain healthy working relationships;
  • raise objections in a professional manner.

It’s important that you test candidates’ ability to resolve conflicts, particularly for:

  • higher-level positions, as these employees will be managing teams in the future;
  • sales jobs, as these employees come into contact with customers on a daily basis.

Here are a few examples of interview questions that you can ask your interview candidates about conflict management. Combine these questions with those on problem-solving and communication skills.

Sample interview questions about conflict management

  • Tell me about a time when you and a colleague disagreed about a project you were both working on. How did you express your differing opinion and what happened next?
  • How would you react if a supervisor gave you negative feedback on how you tackled a problem?
  • Have you ever had a team member who would always disagree about a project? How did/would you handle the situation?
  • How would you deal with conflicts in your team?
  • What advice would you give to someone in your team who was complaining about another member’s behavior?
  • How would you handle angry customers who were complaining about your product/service?
  • Have you ever faced a conflict of interests during a project involving several departments? How did you respond?
  • You’ve noticed that a member of your team is behaving aggressively or arrogantly toward their colleagues. What would you say to them?
  • How would you react if a colleague blamed you during a meeting for something that wasn’t entirely your fault (e.g. a missed deadline)?

Tips for assessing candidates’ conflict management skills

  • Ask candidates to tell you in detail how they have handled conflicts so far in their career. Look for candidates who think through conflicts before confronting colleagues.
  • Empathy and a willingness to listen are signs that someone handles conflict situations in a professional way. People like this are valuable employees as they can calm their colleagues down.
  • Good conflict management goes hand in hand with robust communication skills. Candidates who can express themselves clearly and comfortably will also be able to cope well with conflict situations.
  • Use behavior-related questions that focus on the person’s interaction within a team. Look for candidates who prefer to cooperate and can maintain balance in a team.
  • If the position requires communicating with customers, consider whether to include a role play in your interview process to show you how candidates perform tasks and solve problems.
  • Even if a candidate recounts a negative experience, you can still tell whether they were able to learn something from this experience. Look for applicants who don’t take things too personally and understand the importance of patience.

Warning signs

  • Applicants focus on minor disagreements. If your candidate makes it clear that they turn every difference of opinion into a conflict, this might indicate that they have problems with people who don’t think like they do.
  • Applicants give superficial answers. Generic statements that don’t describe a situation in detail will not tell you much about a candidate’s ability to resolve conflicts.
  • Applicants seem ill at ease. Conflicts are a frequent occurrence in some jobs. If the candidate seems stressed while describing negative situations, they may not be well suited to roles like these.
  • Applicants are unprofessional. Candidates who blame or badmouth others lack professionalism. This indicates that they don’t have the empathy required to resolve conflicts.
  • Applicants avoid all kinds of conflict. Problems can get worse if you simply avoid them. Candidates should have enough self-confidence to be able to tackle conflicts skillfully.
  • Applicants cause conflicts themselves. If it emerges that the conflicts were caused by the candidate’s own poor communication and cooperation skills, this indicates that they do not work well in a team.

That could be of interest to you

Google for Jobs arrived in Germany and Switzerland Google for Jobs
Google for Jobs arrived in Germany and Switzerland

Recruiters keep asking themselves about Google for Jobs – what effect does the function have, for example, on searches for candidates? We have summarized the most important information for ...

Diversity in Recruiting Diversität-im-Recruiting
Diversity in Recruiting

Nowadays, recruiting and diversity management are inextricably linked. The company ultimately decides which candidate is best suited to a vacancy during the application process. This step is crucial to ...

HR Controlling in 2019 hr-controlling-2019
HR Controlling in 2019

Nowadays, controlling is also an integral part of the recruiting process, in line with the motto “Trust is good, controlling is better.” Therefore, you need particular KPIs (key performance ...

5 steps to finding the right applicant tracking software Prescreen Bewerbermanagement Software
5 steps to finding the right applicant tracking software

Every company needs to find the right employees to be successful. However, setbacks and problems often occur during the recruiting process, slowing it down or making it difficult to ...

Goodbye talent shortage, hello active recruiting! talent-shortage-active-recruiting
Goodbye talent shortage, hello active recruiting!

The prevalent lack of talented specialists poses challenges for recruiters on a daily basis. It makes it even more difficult to find the right person for the job. Things ...

GDPR and recruiting: the rights and obligations of recruiters and applicants dsgvo-und-recruiting-rechte-und-pflichten-fuer-recruiter-und-bewerber
GDPR and recruiting: the rights and obligations of recruiters and applicants

The new EU general data protection regulation (abbreviated “GDPR”) is approaching rapidly. For most, if not all, companies, this means changes need to be made to their way of ...

The problem with job portals die-jobboersen-problematik
The problem with job portals

You might well think that the number is overwhelming, but in truth, the jungle of job portals in German-speaking countries is not yet all that complex. However, recruiters are ...

In-house recruiting In-house-recruiting
In-house recruiting

What are the opportunities and challenges associated with it?  Do you know who your company’s real performers are? They are the employees bursting with ambition and motivation who therefore ...


Our support team looks forward to your inquiries!

Contact us