Strategic Statement: The interviewer is less interested in the ‘what’ than the ‘why’.

Sample Response: I don’t appreciate confrontation. It is a last-resort mechanism. If expectations and communications are clearly expressed, confrontation should not be necessary. However, I realize that we are not always operating in an ideal world. When confronted, I try to always lead with the strategy of making sure I have understood the situation correctly. I make sure that expectations are agreed-upon and mutually shared. I have found, as a result, that any defensiveness is diluted.

Discussion and conversation is promoted, and the question no longer is about right and wrong but is focused on ‘so what can we do about this?’. I once worked for a school Principal who confronted me about the parents of one of my students. The parents were upset about their daughter’s grade. I explained to the Principal (and the parents, who were sitting in his office!) that I wanted to know exactly why they were displeased. I came to understand where the parent’s anger was rooted (their need to have their daughter on the honor roll). I then explained my expectations in class, and provided evidence of those expectations being communicated to both students and parents.

I asked if the parents wanted to review the gradebook, and they opted not to. The conversation ended with my asking the parents (and Principal) what their expectations were of me, and whether they felt that I had not lived-up to those expectations.

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