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Answering “Tell Me About a Time You Disagreed With Your Boss?” Interview Question

Interviews play a vital role in your selection while grabbing a job opportunity. Congratulations! If your resume has been shortlisted. But the next step is critical and is much more significant than you think.

You will get a call for an interview, or your interview will be scheduled; the hiring recruiters will provide all that information via mail.

The interview helps the recruiters analyze your potential, efficiency, skills, background, and experience so that they can know your qualities, based on which they will decide whether to hire you.

Several common interview questions are asked during an interview, so you must prepare them beforehand.

“Tell me about a time you disagreed with your boss” is one of the common interview questions and is generally asked during an interview. This question is one of the most challenging because it’s based on a real-life situation, and you cannot fill it with bluff information.

The hiring recruiter knows if the person sitting in front of them is providing them the appropriate answer or not because they face such kinds of people every day. So you should handle the situation very carefully. This article will discuss how to answer such questions and what to keep in mind. We will also give some examples to help you ace your interview.

Bonus Read: 9 Tips on How To Prepare For An Interview.

Why Does The Interviewer Ask Such Questions?

Why does the interviewer ask such questions

The main objective of asking such questions is to check your communication skills, willingness to mix up with the working culture, and how you handle difficult situations. Furthermore, the question is also asked to check your maturity level. Because your overconfidence in proving that you were correct without saying anything about your boss’s condition will always impact your personality.

The hiring recruiters always look for a very valid response, which should be reasonable and can be trustworthy. Apart from work, there are several other situations where candidates leave their previous job and search for a new one.

This question is tricky for most job hunters because they cannot give a straightforward answer and cannot blame the ex-employer/organization for everything that went wrong. The hiring recruiter does not know the background story, so the job hunter has to be very careful while giving a proper answer.

A few of the situations that can help you are listed down below:

  • Due to some organizational issues, your boss might have come across a financial decision that highly impacted your financial conditions. In such a situation, disagreeing with your boss is very common. It is a valid reason for not getting enough financial support from the organization even when you are working your full-time job and providing positive results.

Whatever the reason, always keep in mind that the recruiter is not going to attach to the story emotionally but is always interested in finding your emotional maturity while dealing with such situations. Make sure that you look responsible and attentive towards the questions being asked during the interview, and don’t show any disrespect to any parties.

This will also enhance your chances of getting selected for the interview if you and your boss are on good terms and don’t have any personal conflicts.

These minor points always give you a better edge in the discussion because the recruiters always look for minute details, like your eye contact, posture, etc., So always make sure whatever you are saying is always accurate and valid.

Bonus Read: How to Stay Calm During an Interview?

How should you answer “Tell Me About a Time You Disagreed With Your Boss?” Interview Question”?

How should you answer “Tell Me About a Time You Disagreed With Your Boss?" Interview Question”

Disagreeing with a boss’s decision is a common thing. How you handle the situation or what you did to understand it makes you a better candidate. HR would also ask you if you left your job because of a disagreement or conflict between you and your boss. They will try to find out that you had a mature conversation with your boss before deciding to give your resignation notice. So, always be very careful before uttering any word.

Whenever you have real-life questions in your interview, and you are blank, always think about a STACK method. In tricky situations, STACK can be your savior: where S means situation, T means task, A means action, C means conclusion, and K means to keep it positive.

While answering the recruiter’s question, always make sure that you describe the situation and let them know about the conflicts between you and the boss. Afterward, let them know about the points you suggested to handle or solve the issues, the actions, and the results of these actions. You should also answer whether your efforts were enough to solve the disputes between you and your boss, or did it become a primary reason to leave the job?

If you or your boss still have a few conflicts or didn’t come across a certain point, leaving a positive outcome in front of the recruiter’s mind is always necessary. Do not tell them whether the main conflict was solved or not, but you may always say that it helped to understand the situation in a much better way.

Don’t negatively conclude your answer; ensure your answer shows emotional intelligence, teamwork, problem-solving attitude, and the highest level of maturity. If your answer is able to show all these points, then it will always work in your favor.

Also Read: 6 Best Reason for Leaving Interview Question and Answers.

Sample answers.

Example one :

At my previous job, I did not agree with my boss’s approach to solving a particular issue. It was related to quality testing, and we didn’t have any workers in the company to solve the problem, so I initiated my employer to hire an external quality analyst specialist.

My main concern behind this was finding out the best approach and candidate who could work on that software because we didn’t have anyone who had much knowledge about that software. I also told him about the advantages of hiring a new individual and the cons if any other employee (having insufficient knowledge) will do it. After two days, my boss approached me and agreed for a new individual who could look up to the task.

Example 2:

From my point of view, I didn’t face any such disagreement with my boss, but yes, there was always a conflict of opinions. I still remember that when I was working as a sales executive, I couldn’t meet the targets. I was using a very different strategy than my fellow members. My manager or boss rejected it when I told my boss the reason behind my poor sales.

I let him know that I was working on a new system so that it could help us afterward, but he completely disagreed with me and asked me to work on the same strategy as the other members. I tried to figure out a better solution even after my working hours. I worked hard for it; after certain weeks, I could reach my targets by mixing the old and new strategies.
I informed my manager about the process and how it resulted in positive effects. He was happy with the results and asked me to continue the strategy. He also mentioned that if they got better results, they would think about it.

Example 3:

Initially, I was not a very active employee in my previous organization and faced several difficulties while adjusting with the team members and my manager. Though I was very good at work or my task, whenever it came to teamwork, I always lacked the spirit of working with the other team members.

I always hated the projects that needed to be done in teams, and my manager was well aware of it. One day he asked me to visit the office just to let me know about the importance of teamwork and the project’s importance. He also let me know how it can enhance the quality of my work as well and how it also can give me a chance to learn and polish my skills.

He insisted that I shall communicate with the other team members and not always mind my own business regarding learning and teaching. This helped me a lot in projects and learning about new skills.

I think I was guided better because all of my team members had different perspectives and viewpoints on a particular problem, which always helped us analyze the problem and come up with other solutions to improve it.

Example 4:

Disagreements are a part of an organization, and it always helps us to develop a better plan. Though it was not a disagreement, I worked against the organization’s policies and functions.

I still remember an issue with the software; an intern was working under me. I had already given him a complete overview of the machine and everything and was sure that he would handle it independently. But I was so shocked because of his minute error, which led to the poor functioning of the whole machine.

It was a wrong decision on my end, and I was the only responsible person because the intern was working under me, and I wasn’t supposed to ask him to perform the task without my supervision. So I went up to my boss and made him understand why I allowed the intern, as I was busy with many tasks.

My boss understood my situation and instructed me never to repeat this mistake. After that, I never allowed any intern to work without my supervision. I didn’t have much conflict, but I just wanted my boss to understand my situation, though he thoroughly understood it, and I was not in big trouble.

Pro Tip:-

Pro tip

When answering such behavioral questions, never say that you disagreed with your boss, but you chose to keep quiet. This ensures that you don’t have any constructive way to provide feedback or share concerns with the boss. The recruiter always looks for an individual who can communicate and can offer new ideas and initiatives in the company that can benefit the company.

Your overconfidence in telling a problem during the interview can negatively impact the interview process. Furthermore, always avoid mentioning that your boss was wrong and you were correct. It may happen that your boss was right; the recruiter doesn’t know the situation, so they will not trust you immediately.

It is always better to provide a very brief and crisper description of the problem and let them know that you learn so many things from your boss and always give positive feedback instead of negative feedback.

You can also end your answer in a very friendly sentence like “in my opinion, the situation could have been handled in a much better way..”, etc.

It may happen that your boss completely disagreed with your point of view, so it is better to add that “you tried your best to make them understand, but they completely disagreed, so I  followed their orders.”

In some situations, like when your ex-boss asked you to do something unethical, or document, which would have resulted in worsening of a problem or someone’s health, you can let the recruiters know about this.

You can say, “I completely disagreed and refused the boss to follow their orders because it was unethical, and I cannot make any compromise with my ethics.”

Bonus Read: Answering “Tell us About a Time When You Found it Difficult to Work With Someone” Interview Question.


The interview process is always essential when the hiring recruiters select a new candidate for the job. In an interview, the recruiters always ask some behavioral questions where they want to know about the credibility, maturity, and communication power of the candidate. So it is always essential to give a detailed, trustworthy, and valid answer instead of filling it with bluff information.