You can’t mediate every conflict between employees. You need employees who can manage conflict themselves, so during interviews, ask these questions to determine if job candidates are equipped to do so:
“What was your most recent?” Don’t let them off the hook if they say “I’ve never been in a workplace conflict.” Instead, offer examples, such as “worked with an angry customer,” “disagreed on a course of action” or “got upset over a co-worker’s opinion,” and ask them to share.
“Specifically, what role did you play in resolving the conflict?” You want to find out how proactive they were and whether they took responsibility for mending the relationship. Answers such as “None, because I didn’t feel it was my fault” or “With time, everyone was over it” are red flags.
“How was the relationship afterwards?” This will tell you whether candidates hold grudges or avoid people with whom they’ve had an issue. Ideally, candidates will talk about how the relationship was as strong or stronger than before.
— Adapted from “4 Tips From a Millennial Leader on Finding Great Talent,” Erin Yang, InformationWeek, www.informationweek.com.