Question: Tell me about a time you disagreed with your manager.
Answer: The deadline was set in stones. I spoke to the tech lead. I told him the feature is much more complicated. He told me we had to do it in the backend. My manager also tasked me with the design of architecture diagrams. I explained to the manager it’s not required to make them both happy; I suggested doing a quick version to meet the deadline. And to rewrite the front-end changes on the backend. What happened – the tech lead had a meeting with the manager and explained to the manager it’s really a bad idea, so I didn’t have to do it this way. At this current position, I was there only 8 months, I don’t know what all the edge cases are.
Q: Can you think of another example where you strongly disagreed with your manager?
A: Working on “in this competition, there will be 3 rankings”. First place 40%, second 20% etc. My boss came up with a design that allowed competition manager to recreated excel. Number of different cells, it would automatically changes other cells in real-time. This was web interface. I came up with an idea that we could give them just input box. It was much simpler. My boss agreed.
Competency asserted: Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
I asked about a time the candidate strongly disagreed with their manager. The candidate spoke about a situation where the candidate just communicated an opinion of his tech lead to the manager; however, the tech lead had to convince the manager.
Another example just showed how the candidate came up with a simplification of UX suggested by their manager, not a strong disagreement case either.
The interviewer asks this question to gather data points about your ability to challenge the status quo and come up with meaningful alternatives. You can show influence by asking questions. It doesn’t have to be a time where you yelled at your manager and slammed the door. If this happened, make yourself a favour and don’t mention it. Find instances where you stood up to your manager in the company’s best interest while remaining respectful. How did you convince your manager you were in the right direction? Knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently?