In this video tutorial, watch an example of how two people answered the common interview question how did you handle a disagreement with your boss? Valerie Sutton, director Career Services at Harvard Graduate School of Education, analyzes their answers and offers tips on how to best address this interview question and ways to improve.
- We're now looking at some examples of job candidates answering, "Tell me about a time you disagreed "with your boss." It is important to understand that disagreements happen. Knowing the specific company's workplace norms can be helpful in forming your answer, but if not, you should focus on your critical thinking skills, integrity, and what you learned in the situation. Let's see how our candidate, Tom, answers this question. He's interviewing for an entry-level position as a UX designer. - Tell me about the last time you had a disagreement with your boss.
- I was working at a startup company and I wanted a little more responsibility, and so I spoke to my boss about it, but she didn't think it was a good idea because I was new. She thought that I didn't have the organizational skills. I listened to her, and I demonstrated that, and I think in the future, I would advocate for myself a little better. - Great. - Although this was an example that was a bad situation, Tom did not focus on the negatives. He used a specific example where he listened to his supervisor, and he also showed what he might do differently in the future.
Now let's see how Donna, who is interviewing for a more senior position as a training and development manager, might answer this question. - Tell me about the last time you had a disagreement with your boss. - Well, my style of working is very collaborative, so I have found that for the most part, I get along with my boss. However, there was this one time that I wanted to survey employees for additional information on engagement, and my boss thought that it was not good timing, so I presented my case to her with some recent research in the area, and she agreed that my argument was compelling, and we finally compromised on the timeline for the project.
- Oh, good, so some good experience. - Oh definitely, yeah. - In this mid-career example, I like that Donna started with her working style and focused on a good relationship. In the example, it is specific and confirms her ability to collaborate.
- Tell me about your strengths
- Tell me about your weaknesses
- Why are you interested in our company?
- Why did you leave your previous company?
- Tell me how you handled a difficult situation
- What questions do you have?