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

1 of 30 Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers Written by Rachelle Enns

Written on July 23rd, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
How to Answer

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. 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.

Professional Answer Examples
Answer example

"While obtaining my business degree we were expected to collaborate in groups. These groups were often assigned, and I would find myself working with classmates whom I did not fully understand. I am very organized and had to work on a major project with another student who was disorganized, and simply uninterested. 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 so, instead, I decided that my delivery would shine. And, it did!"

Answer example

"In my current role, I support the VP of Marketing. When she was on vacation this year, I was expected to spend much of my time assisting the Director of Sales in her absence. This particular individual did not give clear direction or feedback, which I found difficult. 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. 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."

Answer example

"Before becoming a manager, the individual 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. It took many extra hours of my own time to learn my new role more thoroughly and to go through the training manuals the way they should have been. I remained dedicated, despite her lack of enthusiasm, and was awarded her position when she quit, shortly after. I do not believe in allowing other people's enthusiasm on the job to affect my own."

Answer example

"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. She was inexperienced but did not ask for help or feedback on anything. 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. She apologized for her behavior, and we came up with a great new way to approach constructive conversations."

Answer example

"I had a co-worker who was quite rude to customers, which I had a difficult time understanding. When you work in retail, it's important to be communicative and friendly to everyone you come across. I did not say anything until the time came where I had to deal with multiple complains from my client. 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."

Answer example

"Earlier in my career, I worked with someone who would fake their cold call sheet and then become highly upset when he missed his weekly targets and monthly goals set by corporate. This situation was a challenging one because I knew the issue was simply the amount of effort he was putting in. I was not his manager and did not feel that it was my business to coach him. Instead, I minded my own business, maintained my workload, and blew my own goals out of the water!"

Answer example

"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. His teaching style was very abrupt, and he moved at too fast a pace for many of our IPP students. When I approached him about the situation, telling him what I had observed, he received it well. We made a plan together on how to make the classroom a more comfortable pace for all of the students."

Transportation Manager
Answer example

"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)."

Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Answer example

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

Written by:

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career. Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise. Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
Published: 07/23/2018
*Specific career answer examples vary on published date
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