MockQuestions

Behavioral Interview
Questions

| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with a co-worker whose personality was the opposite of yours.

1000s of Interview Questions

Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.

Behavioral Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with a co-worker whose personality was the opposite of yours.

      Workplace personality differences will almost always be present, whether you work with a large team or a small one. The interviewer would like to see that you can make the best of any situation, regardless of personality differences.

      Behavioral-based interview questions that begin with 'Tell me about a time...' are best answered using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Organizing your response using this framework will ensure that you provide the interviewer with the right amount of information and detail to form a compelling answer.

      Give an example of a time that you were a team player, despite a challenging personality clash. If you are newer to your career and do not have a work-related example, you can use one from your university or volunteer experience.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "(Situation) While obtaining my business degree, I was expected to collaborate in group projects. I am very organized and had to work on a significant project with another student who was disorganized and disinterested. (Task) Since I found myself working with a classmate whom I did not fully relate to, I knew it was up to me to generate the best project outcome. (Action) I kept my nose to the grindstone, doing the work expected of me, to the best of my ability. I could not force him to work harder. Instead, I decided that my delivery would shine. (Result) My approach worked tremendously, and we received one of the top marks in the class."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Admin interview

      "(Situation) In my current role, I support the VP of Marketing. When she was on vacation this year, I spent much of my time assisting the Director of Sales. (Task) This particular individual did not give clear direction or feedback, which I found difficult. (Action) I asked for a meeting early on, and let him know that I work best when I am fully aware of the expectations and deadlines up front. (Result) We worked pretty well together after that conversation. I am a supporter of open conversations and nipping communication issues in the bud before they become major concerns."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Manager interview

      "(Situation) In my current role, the General Manager, who trained me as an Assistant Manager, was not my favorite person with which to collaborate. She was very brief in my training and seemed disengaged. (Task) I knew that it would be up to me to lead my training and ensure success. (Action) It took many extra hours to learn my new role more thoroughly and to go through the training manuals independently. (Result) I remained dedicated, despite her lack of enthusiasm, and earned a promotion to her position when she quit, shortly after. I do not believe in allowing other people's lack of enthusiasm to affect my own."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Marketing interview

      "(Situation) In marketing, there are many different creative personalities present, often in the same department, or collaborating on the same project. One example that comes to mind was a junior copywriter I had to work with, on a complex project. (Task) Compared to my copywriting experience, she was inexperienced but did not ask for help or feedback on anything. (Action) When I provided feedback on her work, she became defensive. I thought perhaps it was the way I was delivering the feedback, so; I asked her how she prefers the approach when her work needs improvement. (Result) She apologized for her behavior, and we came up with a great new way to approach constructive conversations."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Retail interview

      "(Situation) With Company ABC, I had a co-worker who was quite rude to customers, which I had a difficult time understanding. (Task) As an experienced retail associate, I understand the importance of being communicative and friendly to everyone I come across. (Action) I did not say anything until the time came where I had to deal with multiple customer complaints. At that point, I asked my co-worker if there was a way that I could help her to enjoy the day-to-day client interaction just a little bit better. (Result) We worked together on a new approach, and our customer complaints decreased by 35% in the first month."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Sales interview

      "(Situation) Earlier in my career, I worked with someone who would fake their cold call sheet and then become highly upset when they missed weekly targets. (Task) This situation was a challenging one because I knew the issue was simply the amount of effort he was putting in. (Action) I was not his manager and did not feel that it was my business to coach him, but I decided to share some pointers that I deployed to make cold calling more enjoyable. (Result) Even by taking the time to help him out, I maintained my workload and blew my own goals out of the water. His performance also improved significantly."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Teacher interview

      "(Situation) For the most part, I have been able to get along remarkably well with my fellow teachers. Earlier on in my career, I did not get along very well with the teacher to whom I was the assistant. (Task) His teaching style was very abrupt, and he moved at too fast a pace for many of our IPP students. I knew that I needed to approach the situation with care. (Action) When I approached him about the situation, telling him what I had observed, he received it surprisingly well. (Result) Together, we made a plan to make the classroom a more comfortable place for all of the students. The rest of the year was full of positive results for the students and us as teachers."

      Rachelle's Answer
       for a Transportation Manager interview

      "My relationships with my colleagues are always excellent. I thrive in a team environment and consider myself a team player. For instance, in my last role of (X position title) at (X company), we had to work on numerous collective projects on a weekly basis, such as (...) (X description of collaborative projects and how you contributed to the team's success)."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I've always had a great working relationship with other medical professionals. I enjoy collaborating to provide the best possible care to our patients."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I worked with someone who was very quiet and appeared bored or angry most of the time. I was appalled when I was assigned to work with him as a direct partner because I had convinced myself that he was terrible at his job. What I learned, though, was that he was just very analytical, and once he had the opportunity to talk with customers about what he knew, he lit up like a bonfire. That experience taught me that everyone has their communication style and that I had a lot to learn from all types!"

      Rachelle's Answer

      It sounds like you learned a lot from this person...to not judge a book by its cover. This is a great story to tell. Nice answer!

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (2) or No (0)
      Anonymous Answer

      "Earlier in my career, I worked with someone who was very collaborative, holding the information to herself. It made my work difficult. I invited meeting with her privately, and let her know that we both work best when we are sharing the information, aware of the progress, support each other to meet the deadlines. We worked pretty well after that conversation. I am a supporter of open conversations to clear out the issues."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Try to clean up the answer a bit, as your interpretation of 'collaborative' may be a touch confusing here.

      "Earlier in my career, I worked with someone who did not like to collaborate. This person's behavior made my work challenging, so I asked her to have a private discussion to figure out how we could best work together. After that conversation, we worked better together by sharing information, discussing the progress of our work, and supporting each other to meet deadlines."

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (0)
      Anonymous Answer

      "I can't think of a specific example, but I've had to work with many different personalities in my professional and personal life. How I've come to work with this is by meeting with my peer on a personal level and getting to understand what their best skills are and what they're passionate about. This way, we can get a better understanding of each other, learn from each other, and be the best version of ourselves while getting the job done."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Learning more about your peers, strengths, and desires is a good approach to building relationships where strong collaborations can happen. If you think of a 'time when,' feel free to revisit this response, and I can return with additional feedback.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I had to work on a report with a coworker. While we were similar in terms of our experience level, the way we conducted our work was drastically different. He tended to rush through things and get stuff done quickly, while I wanted us to settle down, create a plan, work on a draft and only then begin writing. I realized that we needed to reconcile our differences to achieve success and so I sat down with him. We tried to find ways of dividing the work in a way that allowed both of us to leverage our personalities in the best possible manner. In the end, we wrote a report that was much better than what each of us could have done individually."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Good for you, finding a workaround. It's not easy working with someone who has a drastically different approach to their work. Try beefing up the 'action' part of your response by including details of the workarounds you two settled on.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I was working on a client-side project, and for this particular task, I teamed up with another team member. There were a lot of dependencies in our tasks. I had to test a couple of new features, and I wanted to start right away, but every time I had a question or issue my team member wasn't available. And I didn’t have any information about the environment or the version of the deployed product. I tried to stay focused on my tasks, but I couldn’t. After a couple of days, I was able to find him in another department. As it turned out, his tasks were blocked by another department, so instead of sitting at his desk, he was talking to people, taking them for coffee or having lunch, and trying to get the answer he needed. After solving all the issues he was able to deploy the environment for me to perform testing."

      Rachelle's Answer

      *The detail that you added in your revision is helpful and allows your answer to flow much better. Good!

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I have a co-worker that likes to talk and ends up talking about things that are way off of topic instead of just addressing the issue at hand. I have had to work with him to try to keep him focused and back to what we are talking about while still letting him feel like he is saying what he wants and needs to say."

      Kristine's Answer

      Good start! You mention working with a co-worker who has a completely different personality. Try to be more specific with your answer, explaining a certain situation where you worked with this co-worker.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "There was a time at a facility that I was teamed up with another individual where we worked on some projects independently and other projects together. I knew from the start after our first conversation that we might have a hard time collaborating on some points but didn't think about it till our first project. We went back and forth on a few points, which made it a little difficult and a little longer than expected but both being logical we both chose the best design and moved forward."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It is very good that you came to an understanding in the end! What made you think that you may have a hard time collaborating? Part of this question is for the interviewer to gain insight into the characteristics and personality traits that you prefer to see in your coworkers.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "One of my colleagues' personality is much different than mine, I am very driven, and he's not. We were assigned to a very important project together. I divided up the work that needed to be accomplished and assigned the tasks that aligned with our strengths and work preferences. This helped eliminate the friction of who is going to do what and when. Every morning I would take a few minutes to coordinate with him on what tasks I was completing that day and asking when his tasks would be complete so we could compile our work and update the team on our progress every few days. This method was successful and kept the work momentum going."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It's fantastic that you had the foresight to see that this collaboration would only be successful if you guided and directed this coworker. This is a strong example of adapting to others but also taking on a leadership role with confidence.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "At a previous position, I had to collaborate with a co-worker to work on implementing a new share point site. The co-worker was not pulling her weight and I had to pick up her workload. I had a meeting with her privately to discuss my concern and it turned out that she was having some personal matters. I offered to assist so we can meet the department's expectations and deadlines. We worked pretty well together after that conversation."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Excellent delivery! You use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) flawlessly in this behavioral-focused response.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "While obtaining my master's degree, we were expected to collaborate in groups. These groups were often assigned, and I would find myself working with classmates who wouldn't be my favorite person with whom to collaborate. I am very organized and had to work on a major project with another person who was disorganized and not interested. I remained dedicated, despite the lack of enthusiasm, so I decided that my delivery would shine. And it did!"

      Rachelle's Answer

      Deciding to shine, despite someone's inability to keep up, shows the interviewer your solid level of determination. Nicely done.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No