Should you disagree in a job interview?
When you’re interviewing for a job, you typically have one primary goal: impress the interviewer enough to get an offer. Often, we think that we need to be agreeable to succeed, which can lead to a lot of nodding on both sides — even if you don’t necessarily believe in what the person is saying. This type of well-intended dishonesty may help you get the job, but it can lead to assumptions and misconceptions that grow and fester once you’re in the role.
To be successful in the long term, you should instead express your honest opinions during an interview, presenting yourself as you are, not someone you think the employer wants you to be. In fact, the most engaging interviews — for both sides — have some form of healthy disagreement that demonstrates the interviewee’s ability to be curious and collaborative. Rather than thinking of it as a conflict, approach it as a launching point for healthy discussion, debate, and problem-solving. While simply saying “I disagree” will shut down further conversation, a response framed as “This is what I see (from the outside looking in to your company) and this is what I’ve experienced (during my years specializing in this space)” invites discussion.
For instance, if the interviewer says the company always uses the waterfall method to develop software, but you believe agile is a better method because it allows changes to be made as the project is evolving, you might want to say, “It’s interesting that you’re using the waterfall method because I find agile methodology to produce faster, more accurate, and efficient end of project results.” Your counterpart’s reaction will speak volumes. If he or she says, “That will never work here,” then you know what you might be up against if you get the role and want to make a change.