How to Answer: Tell Me about a Past Disagreement or Conflict with a Coworker

Preparing for a flight attendant interview can be nerve-wracking, especially when you know that the interviewer is likely to ask about a past disagreement or conflict with a coworker. However, this is not a question that should catch you off guard. In fact, it is a question that you should prepare for in advance, as it can have a significant impact on your chances of being hired.

Also Read: How to Answer: What Does Excellent Customer Service Mean to You?

As a cabin crew applicant, there is a good chance that during your interview, you will be asked behavioral questions. Aside from the question about handling a difficult customer, One of the most common behavioral interview questions is, “Tell me about a disagreement/conflict you’ve had with a coworker. How did you resolve the situation?”

This type of question is asked to determine how effectively you can handle difficult situations and how well you work with others. After all, flight attendants work in a team environment, and it is essential to show that you can work collaboratively with your colleagues, even when disagreements arise.

tell me about disagreement conflict with coworker

Why is the Airline Company / Interviewer Asking this Question?

The interviewer is trying to assess your ability to resolve conflicts with coworkers. They want to know if possess the qualities to remain professional, reach a compromise, and come away from the situation with a positive outcome. The interviewer is also interested in understanding how you handle stress and difficult conversations.

Employers ask this question to assess your

  • conflict resolution skills,
  • emotional intelligence, and
  • ability to communicate and work with others.

Successful flight attendants understand the value of working together to achieve a common goal and provide passengers with a seamless travel experience.

The airline company wants to know how you communicate with others, and if you can remain cooperative, even when faced with a conflict. After all, as a flight attendant, you will have to work with a variety of people in often high-pressure situations. That is why the interviewer wants to understand how you respond in a conflict.

How to Answer This Question

When answering this question, it is important to remain professional and not speak negatively about any of your coworkers. The interviewer wants to know that you can handle conflict without resorting to personal attacks or becoming defensive.

Instead, focus on what you learned from the situation and how you worked with your coworker to resolve the issue. It is also good to emphasize any positive outcomes from the disagreement, such as reaching a consensus or coming up with an innovative solution.

By giving examples of successful resolutions of conflicts with coworkers, the interviewer will be able to understand that you are capable of working collaboratively in difficult situations. This will demonstrate that you would be a good flight attendant for the airline.

Sample Scenarios

To illustrate how to answer this question, let’s look at a couple of real-world example.

  • Let’s say that you had a disagreement with a coworker over the division of labor on a flight. You felt that they were not pulling their weight and were leaving more work for you, which was causing you to feel stressed and overwhelmed. However, upon discussing this with the coworker, you learned that they were experiencing a family emergency and were struggling to keep up with their responsibilities. You worked together to come up with a plan that would allow both of you to fulfill your duties without causing undue stress.
  • Another situation may be during your previous work, you may have experienced a conflict with a coworker. For instance, your colleague may have disputed your decision during an emergency protocol. You may have disagreed about the procedures, but ultimately work to ensure the issue is resolved amicably. Perhaps you explained why you made the decision in place while taking their insight into consideration. Thus, using such an example can convince your interviewer of your collaborative and problem-solving abilities.

The ideal approach is to provide an honest answer that shows your problem-solving skills, and the ability to work collaboratively.

Also Read: How to Answer: Why Do You Want to Work for our Airline?

Step-by-Step Procedure Guide

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to answer this question:

Step 1: Start with context Provide context to clearly explain the situation, including who was involved, where and when it happened, and what the disagreement was about.

Step 2: Be honest Answer honestly about what happened during the disagreement. Explain how you felt and how you approached the problem.

Step 3: Present your resolution Highlight the steps you took to resolve the conflict. Discuss how you and your coworker reached a resolution, and what you learned from the experience.

Step 4: Finish on a positive note End your response by emphasizing how the experience helped you to become a better team player and how you learned to handle similar situations effectively in the future.

Sample Answers

Here are seven sample answers to the question, “Tell me about a conflict you’ve had with a coworker. How did you resolve the situation?”:

  • “At my previous job, a coworker and I disagreed on how to approach a project, which resulted in a heated argument. We discussed our opinions in detail and found a mutual solution that was acceptable to both of us. After that discussion, we made a few necessary changes, and it turned out to be one of our best projects.”
  • “I had a disagreement with a coworker about a customer handling issue. We sat down to discuss our viewpoints and ultimately found an effective solution that served both the customer’s needs and the company’s requirements.”
  • “A colleague and I had conflicting ideas about a procedure. We had a one-on-one discussion to clarify our positions, and we discovered that our difference of opinion originated from a misinterpretation of the policy. After figuring that out, we were able to find a mutually accepted solution.”
  • “I had a conflict with a coworker about work delegation during a busy event. We had to work together to make sure all the tasks were completed on time. We had a conversation about our tasks, and we established clear roles and responsibilities, which helped us both focus on our priorities and meet our goal.”
  • “I had a conflict with a colleague about the design of a brochure. We met to discuss our concerns and work on an alternate design that incorporated both of our ideas. That approach made the final product even better.”
  • “A coworker and I disagreed on how to approach a complex customer problem. We brainstormed together and reached a mutually agreeable solution that pleased the customer and addressed our team’s concerns.”
  • “I had a disagreement with a coworker about how to proceed with a customer inquiry. We held a team meeting to discuss our viewpoints, and we ultimately decided on a customer-centric approach that satisfied both the customer and our company.”
  • “While working as a team lead, my coworker and I disagreed about a customer complaint. We sat down to discuss our viewpoints and ultimately found an effective resolution that served both the customer’s needs and the company’s requirements.”
  • “During a team project, a colleague and I disagreed on how to approach a task. After discussing our perspectives, we realized that our approach was not aligned with the project’s objectives. We shifted our focus and focused on a pragmatic approach that met our expectations.”
  • “While working on a customer inquiry, a coworker and I disagreed on how to prioritize tasks. After discussing the issue and exploring various approaches, we agreed on a new priority system that resulted in successfully completing the project within the stipulated period.”
  • “I had a disagreement with a coworker over delegation of work during a busy event. We had a conversation about our tasks, and we established clear roles and responsibilities, which helped us both focus on our priorities and meet our target.”
  • “During a team meeting, a colleague and I disagreed on how to handle a last-minute delay. We worked together to find a solution that involved customer service and communication which positively impacted the passengers and played a significant role in maintaining our company’s reputation.”
  • “My coworker and I had different approaches when handling a complaint, and this caused some disagreements. We had a detailed discussion regarding the issue, reviewed a few protocols and ultimately reached an agreement that worked for the client and the company.”
  • “We experienced various conflicts during group work, including managing disputes, personal issues, and communication barriers. Through discussion, role evaluation, and re-assignment of tasks, we were able to find common ground, and the results achieved were even better than we expected.”

Note: While the above answers may be a bit short, it’s still important to explain further and be more specific about the conflict. So please insert your actual situation in the samples above. This way, it will be more personal to you and more specific and clearer for the interviewer.

Common Mistakes and Why Honesty is the Best Policy

Common mistakes that applicants may make and show weaknesses when responding to this question include:

  • Not providing enough context or detail: You should clearly explain the situation and provide as much information as possible.
  • Not being truthful about your actions: Be truthful about how you handled the disagreement, don’t make stuff up! One common mistake candidates make is trying to avoid the question or sugarcoat the situation. This tactic never works and often backfires. Instead, you should be honest and provide a clear and compelling answer.
  • Avoiding the questions by being overly vague: Don’t avoid the question by simply saying, “We worked it out,” or being overly vague about the details. Paint a clear picture for the interviewer by providing specific details about how you handled the conflict.
  • Being afraid to admit if you made mistakes: Admitting mistakes shows that you are self-aware and have the ability to learn from your experiences. Nobody’s perfect after all!
  • Avoiding responsibility for resolving the disagreement: Show that you were proactive in coming up with a solution, even if it was a collaborative effort.
  • Downplaying your role in the issue resolution: Show the interviewer that you were a critical part of resolving the conflict.

By honestly explaining the conflict and discussing how you used effective problem-solving skills to reach a resolution, the interviewer will gain insight into your team collaboration abilities. This is an important quality for any successful employee, so always emphasize your ability to work together with others through difficult situations.

Tips when Answering this Question

Here are some bonus practical tips to help you navigate this type of question during your interview:

  • Use specific examples to illustrate your points.
  • Emphasize collaboration, cooperation, and compromise during conflict resolution.
  • Showcase your problem-solving and listening skills.
  • Stay calm and composed while framing your thoughts.
  • Be honest and transparent, but avoid highlighting any negative traits.
  • Focus more on how you resolved the situation rather than the disagreement itself.
  • Be confident and offer compelling suggestions.

Best Practices Approach

When tackling such disagreements, it is a strength of your character to present an approach of collaboration and constructive criticism. Here are some tips:

  • Listen attentively to the opposing viewpoints presented.
  • Avoid making assumptions and reacting impulsively.
  • Present a clear resolution that satisfies both parties.
  • Keep an open mind and provide solutions that are within the company’s guidelines.
  • Respectfully communicate with your coworkers utilizing effective strategies such as acknowledging their points before presenting your own.

Also Read: How to Answer: Tell Me About Yourself

Questions to Ask Yourself in Preparation for the Conflict-Resolution Question during an Interview

Here are some example questions for you to self-reflect and be able to come up with a good and concrete answer:

  • What was the disagreement about?
  • How did I handle the situation?
  • What strategies did I use to resolve the conflict?
  • What challenges did I face during this process and how did I overcome them?
  • Did everyone involved agree with my resolution, and if not, why not?
  • What lessons have I learned from this experience?
  • What impact did this situation have on the project or team at large?
  • What changes did I implement to ensure that similar conflicts don’t arise again in future?
  • How can I use my conflict resolution strategies and techniques in other areas of work?

These questions will help you assess your own skills and capabilities, so you can provide a comprehensive answer during the interview.

Video: Resolving Conflict Interview Question

Check out this helpful video guide by Interview Coach, Amri Celeste, on how she dissects this common interview question and provides tips/advice:

At the end of the day, a good answer to this question should demonstrate how you were able to effectively deal with conflict in a professional manner, collaborate with your colleagues, and resolve issues quickly and efficiently. Showing that you can handle yourself gracefully when faced with difficult situations is key to impressing interviewers in any job setting. Good luck!


Some key takeaways from this include:

  • Prepare for the interview question about a past disagreement or conflict with a coworker
  • Be honest and provide a clear and compelling answer
  • Take responsibility for your actions and communicate effectively
  • Remain calm and professional when addressing disagreements
  • Work together to find a solution that benefits everyone

It is crucial to prepare well and practice answering behavioral questions like this one before the interview. By following the guidelines and tips shared above, you can show the interviewer that you are a team player who can work effectively with others and handle difficult situations with care and professionalism. Remember, interviews are an opportunity to showcase your skills and personality, so don’t be nervous and show your personality.