“What do I say? Why are they asking me this? I don’t want to mess this up!”

Flaticon Icon

Joe was sweating and his mind was all over the place. The job interview had been going great until the interviewer asked “Joe, how do you deal with challenging office politics?" 

Drama. Politics. Hierarchy. It exists in every office and workplace.

Dwight from the Office says,

Luckily, there are a few strategies you can use to answer this tricky question!

It's All About Communication & Conflict Resolution Skills!

This is a loaded question. The interviewer is trying to find out:

Flaticon Icon

  • How do you handle conflicts?

  • How do you make sure the bigger picture is kept in mind?

Flaticon Icon

  • What is your communication style?

  • How do you advocate for yourself and others?

Flaticon Icon

  • How do you work with others?

  • Do you participate in office politics?

  • Do you choose sides in conversations?

How To Answer

Reflect on past situations in which you showed empathy, authenticity, and active listening skills.

Highlight these skills and give examples of how you used them to manage conflicts.

Flaticon Icon

There are also a few key phrases that you can incorporate into your answer:

  • Neutral stance — Allows you to showcase how you try to avoid taking sides

  • Positive mindset — Allows you to demonstrate how you try not to get caught up in any negativity or toxicity that may occur from the politics

  • Communicate and advocate for yourself and others — Shows how you value inclusion & equity

  • Look at the bigger picture — Allows you to show you're committed to helping the company succeed

A man in an office saying,

Sample Answers

Joe came up with two possible answers:

Flaticon Icon

"When it comes to office politics, I like to keep a neutral stance and keep an open mind. I try to focus on the bigger picture and look for ways to work with everyone to achieve our company's goals!"

Flaticon Icon

"First I like to hear everyone out and keep a positive mindset. I try to encourage others to advocate for themselves and stand up for what is right for the company."

Let's Practice!

Image that shows two people participating in an interview. Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Rayne is currently being interviewed at one of her dream companies. The interview is going great so far! The interviewer asks her one final question: "How do you deal with challenging office politics?"

Rayne has dealt with office drama in the past but she's unsure what to say. Here's how she's thinking of responding:

Flaticon Icon

A. I usually side with whatever most people are thinking and doing.

B. I have a confrontational working style, so I try to get all of the details and support whoever is right.

C. I don't deal with it. I isolate myself and just try to get through the workday.

D. I try to keep a neutral stance and encourage peaceful collaboration so that we can achieve a particular project or goal.


Which answer would be the most effective for Rayne in the interview?

Take Action

A woman in front of a laptop. She says,

It's time to prepare for the interview:


Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

Get support to take action on this Byte