This question is usually asked to determine a candidate’s future actions based on his or her past actions, and the interviewer is looking for specific examples. Avoid negative language when relaying past experiences.
Situations with supervisors can be emotional. To keep your thoughts in the right lane, think about your career, and look back to a time where you’ve had a problem with your manager. Forget about your emotions and take on the situation as professionally as possible.
How to Answer the Question
Forget about your emotions. An emotional answer can backfire and reflect poorly on you. It is far better to look at past situations objectively and analyze what needed to be solved and the outcome. Think about what you dealt with from a business perspective, not a personal one.
Cite a specific example. Keep your answer short and concise. Remember not to go into too many details. You are there to analyze the situation professionally. Spilling irrelevant details can cause negative language to seep into your answer.
Focus on positive results. Make sure to limit your responses to situations where you took positive action that ended with a positive result. You can use buzzwords in these types of question such as respect, solution, identify, listen, resolve, and so on.
Make sure to provide details describing how the situation was rectified so that the interviewer can see you were accountable.
Here are some sample answers you may want to consider:
- “I had a manager I didn’t get along with early in my career. We had different opinions and expectations. Because of that experience, today I always make it a point to find common ground with anyone I work with and ask questions immediately if I need to clarify something.”
- “At one time I did have a supervisor — We didn’t see eye to eye on most things. Because of this, I decided it was best to go our separate ways. I did find another job and I think we were both happier as a result of my decision.”
- “I can say that I’ve never had a problem working with anyone. As long as I can find common ground with people, I find it very easy to get along with others.”