Reframing the Way We Think About Conflict

Managing Workplace Disagreements During the Hiring Process

When making any hiring decision, your organization has the power to shift the dynamics of your teams––for better or for worse. These key decisions often lead to disagreements on who to hire and why. Even though disagreements are a natural part of any workplace, how you handle those situations will make all the difference. 

By fostering a culture of constructive conflict resolution you are more likely to open the floor to diverse perspectives and ideas. Ultimately, this leads to better decision-making and problem-solving––even when outcomes are not entirely within your control.

In this post, we will discuss different types of conflict that may arise during the hiring process, along with common situations you may face and strategies you can use to make the most of these circumstances.

How to Approach Workplace Conflict

Workplace conflict is often seen as a negative situation––something to avoid or resolve quickly. However, what if we told you that if managed effectively, it can be a powerful tool in business? 

Instead of viewing these conflicts as obstacles, you should view them as productive disagreements––ones that can be used to gain valuable insights and improve your strategies and processes. As business leaders, it is vital to reframe your mindset and approach differences not as a threat but as a valuable tool for growth and improvement. 

Instead of focusing on "winning an argument,” try to understand why the issue has come up and dig deeper into the cause. During this time, it is best to encourage reflection and collaboration to understand each other's viewpoints, motivations, and concerns, as it opens the floor to new ideas, perspectives, and ways of doing things.

Types of Workplace Conflict in Hiring

When hiring new talent, disagreements can easily arise among hiring managers, team members, or even with the candidate. These situations stem from different opinions, competing priorities, or misunderstandings and can significantly impact the hiring process if not addressed promptly and effectively. Here is a look at the four most common conflicts that you may experience in recruitment.

Status Conflict

Status conflict occurs when people disagree or feel tension because they see themselves as having different levels of importance or authority. Various factors, such as differing roles, responsibilities, or authority structures can cause this type of conflict. It may manifest in power struggles, competition for recognition, or leadership challenges. Resolving status conflict often requires effective communication, conflict resolution skills, and a commitment to fostering a collaborative and inclusive work environment.

Task Conflict

Task conflict, also known as cognitive or content conflict, arises from disagreements about the content and goals of the work being done. It can be extremely constructive, as it often leads to a diversity of thoughts and deeper exploration of ideas––resulting in better decision-making and innovative solutions. However, if not managed properly, it can escalate into a more serious issue, causing tension and hindering progress. Effective communication, active listening, and focused problem-solving are crucial when managing task conflict.

Relationship Conflict

Relationship conflict, as the name suggests, involves conflicts based on interpersonal relationships, personal dislikes, or communication breakdowns. This type of conflict is often emotional and can be detrimental to team morale and productivity. Addressing it requires open and honest communication, empathy, and a willingness to resolve differences. Building strong relationships and fostering a positive team culture can help prevent relationship conflict from arising.

Value Conflict

Value conflict occurs when individuals or groups have differing beliefs, values, or ethical standards. It can be particularly challenging to resolve, as it is often deeply rooted in personal or cultural backgrounds. Managing value conflict requires high sensitivity, respect, and willingness to understand and appreciate different perspectives. Organizations can promote a positive culture to help prevent issues and create a more harmonious work environment.

Possible Workplace Conflict Scenarios in the Hiring Process

Now that we understand the types of conflict that can arise during the hiring process, let's consider a few examples to effectively manage and resolve issues as they arise––ensuring a smoother and more successful recruitment experience.

1. The Talent Tug-of-War

Imagine two hiring managers with contrasting views on a candidate: one sees them as a perfect fit, while the other has reservations. Instead of seeing this as a deadlock, view it as an opportunity for a deeper discussion. Encourage them to share their perspectives and insights, as this can lead to a more nuanced evaluation and a better understanding of the candidate's potential within the team.

2. The Clash of Criteria

Sometimes, conflicts often arise when team members prioritize different qualities in candidates. For example, one might value experience over skills, while another focuses on cultural fit. These situations can be used to revisit and refine your hiring criteria. Engage your team in deeper discussions about what characteristics they believe matter, not only for the role but for the team as a whole.

3. The Miscommunication Minefield

There are also times when conflicts arise due to misunderstandings or miscommunications, especially during interviews as each person can interpret answers in different ways. You can use these moments to improve communication skills within your team. One way to achieve this is to provide training on effective interviewing techniques and encourage feedback to avoid future misunderstandings.

Learn More: Developing Effective Business Communication Skills 

4. The Bias Battle

Whether conscious or unconscious, bias is also a common issue that can arise during the hiring process. Instead of ignoring or dismissing these situations, use them to address and mitigate bias within your team. Implement blind resume reviews or diversity training to ensure a fair and inclusive hiring process.

5. The Mediation Moment

In cases where you cannot resolve an issue on your own, consider seeking mediation from a neutral third party. They can facilitate a constructive discussion and guide the team toward a resolution that satisfies everyone involved, rather than dividing the team and causing problems.

Related: Top Etiquette Rules for Better Working Relationships

Turn Workplace Conflict into a Competitive Edge

The next time you face opposing views, embrace these situations as opportunities for rethinking and watch as your hiring process becomes more effective and efficient.

If you are interested in changing your hiring process and are open to trying new strategies, Kinsley Sarn could be the partner you need. Not only can we help you manage these challenging situations to promote a culture of collaboration and respect, but we can also help you find the talent you need to transform your organization.

With years of experience in organizational dynamics, we can help you navigate workplace conflict in a way that fosters understanding, promotes growth, and strengthens your team. To discuss your current hiring needs with our experts, simply click on the button below and we will set up a time to connect.

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