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The Question Doctor...
The Cure for the Common Question

What would you do if you disagreed with a decision your supervisor made?

Because of the way this question is asked, it invites candidates to speculate on how they might handle a hypothetical situation. The response is more likely to be theoretical than based on the candidate’s actual experience. There is no evidence that the candidate’s answer reflects how he would deal with the situation.

Better Question: Describe a time when you disagreed with a decision made by your supervisor. How did you handle this situation?

The candidate is required to describe how he handled this situation in the belief that how he handled it previously is a preview of how he would handle a similar situation. One Concern: As phrased, the candidate may see this a trick question intended to expose those who frequently disagree with supervisors. This may deter the candidate from answering the question candidly.

Even Better Question: From time to time, all of us have been in a situation where we have disagreed with a decision made by a supervisor. Tell me about a time when you were in this situation and how you handled it.

The manner in which this question is asked gives the candidate permission to disagree with a supervisor’s decision. Your company’s culture says that it is OK to disagree with a decision. What you want to know is why the candidate disagreed and what he did. Did he go along with the decision? Did he express his feelings about the decision? How? To whom? Was this done with tact and diplomacy?

During his Interview Right to Hire Right seminar, Nelson Scott works with participants to develop and ask questions that will yield the high quality information needed to make the right hiring decisions.


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A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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