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What was the last thing you disagreed with your company about?

The best way to answer this question is, "Well, gosh. I really can't recall anything of any importance that I minded or disagreed with my company on. Whatever it might have been, I certainly don't remember." The only fundamental things one might disagree with are cheating employees or doing something immoral. But since employers indentify with employers and not candidates, unless the issues are public knowledge—i.e., bankruptcy, indictment by law officials—I wouldn't recommend saying anything.

Give me an example of when you were refused or told "no" by your company or supervisors.

Make sure you think of something that is a "safe" subject or topic. Do not mention something like, "When I went in and asked for 25% raise." If you can't think of anything even reasonably significant, simply state that you cannot remember any situation where you were told "no" or refused.

Give us an example of how you got your staff to support an unpopular decision.

Be ready for this kind of question and give an example of an unpopular decision that had to be made and the way that you presented it to your subordinates.

What special problems do you have with the day-to-day management of your staff?

This is the kind of question that nobody thinks about until it's asked. Be prepared with an answer. Maybe tell a story.

For what have you been most frequently criticized?

This is like the question about your biggest weakness. Think of something that could be positive or negative. Things like being a perfectionist or a driver or an extremely hard worker, and expecting the same of everyone are good answers.

Tell me about a time when you faced resistance or rejection to your ideas or actions. What did you do?

Think of a story where you faced some kind of resistance or rejection that you might experience. Even if you embellish on the story, make sure you communicated that, although you were disappointed in your ideas not being accepted, you were graceful about and accepted the results. If you complain, bitch, or moan about how other people treated you and your ideas, you won't make the cut. If you communicate that you lost your temper, got really upset, or alienated people, no matter how right you might have been, it will never be accepted by a interviewing or hiring authority. You have to come across as a "team" player no matter what the circumstance.

We sometimes run into a person who makes unreasonable demands of us. Tell me about a time when this happened to you.

Again, be ready with a story. Every businessperson runs into someone with "unreasonable" demands. Describe the situation and how you handled it gracefully and to everybody's benefit. You can talk about the solutions that you came up with. Make them logical, reasonable, and with common sense. If you've been in a position where the demands were made by a previous boss or other than customers, communicate that your "solution" was to explain that "we are all in this together" and that the unreasonable demand wasn't good for everyone. This may take a bit of thinking before the interviewing situation. But you must be ready for questions like this and have an appropriate story. Again, if you communicate anything less than, "I calmed the waters and (helped) save the day," you won't come across as positive as you want to.

Highlight your experience in dealing with interpersonal conflict disagreements by recalling a difficult situation that you were involved in.

As above, you need to have a story. You won't get ask this question very often, but you need to have a story prepared just in case. As with many of the questions in this section, even though you may not be asked very often, if you have to stop and think of an applicable story, you're definitely at a disadvantage. If you were unprepared for this kind of question and you have to recall an "interpersonal conflict," you're likely to relate the situation in an emotional way. When you answer questions in a less than a positive emotional state, you won't impress an interviewer. If you were caught off guard with this question and start "reliving" an emotional situation, it may not come across well. So, be prepared with an "interpersonal conflict" story. By the way, make it brief, factual, and unemotional.

How have you shown resilience in the face of

conflict?

frustrating circumstances?

constraints?

rapidly changing circumstances?

shifting priorities?

adversity?

multiple demands upon time and other resources?

Be prepared with stories that relate to each one of these factors. Rarely will you be asked about all of them, but you better be prepared for them. As with the questions above, if you have to ponder and think for too long a period of time, you don't appear decisive. Be sure to be detailed with things like constraints or rapidly changing circumstances. If you simply describe that "business was difficult" as a constraint, your answer will appear glib. You have to describe exactly how business was difficult—i.e., sales were down, overhead had to be cut, the company was up for sale, the CEO left, etc. Then describe, in detail, what all of the constraints were and how they made your job more challenging, i.e., "difficult."

 
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