Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with.
This question has been answered 9 times by professional recruiters and hiring managers. View their answers below.
The interviewer wants to know how well you work with others despite personality or work style differences. Keep your answer simple and avoid overdramatizing any event. Speaking negatively of others will always look unfavorable towards you. Telling the interviewer that you get along with everyone is not an appropriate or believable response either. Focus on a time when your work style was different than another person, but perhaps you still had to complete a project together. Discuss, in a positive tone, how you made it work!
911 Dispatcher answer example
"There will nearly always be a coworker who is difficult to deal with. I believe it's part of what keeps things interesting. I choose to find common ground with those people in order to create a positive base of understanding."
Admin answer example
"About one year ago, we had an administrative team member who constantly was late to meetings and missed deadlines. They were new to their career, and it was important to me that they succeed. I approached them privately to understand what was going on that was preventing them from working well with the team and offered any support to get them there."
Basic answer example
"Last month I had to collaborate on a project with another project manager who works very differently than I do. I find timely client follow up to be incredibly important and this particular PM seemed to be more relaxed with that aspect. I continued to work how I always do but did ask this PM a couple of times to communicate more frequently with our client to make the collaboration smoother. I fully understand that not everyone will work in perfect synergy and that is okay. There is always a professional workaround available - sometimes you just have to approach the situation head-on but in a respectful way."
Heavy Equipment Operator answer example
"Last month I had to collaborate on a project with a corporate project manager who works very differently than I do. I find timely follow up to be incredibly important and this particular PM seemed to be more relaxed with that aspect. I continued to work how I always do but did ask this PM a couple of times to communicate more frequently with me in order to make the collaboration smoother. I fully understand that not everyone will work in perfect synergy and that is okay. It's what makes everyone unique. There is always a professional workaround available - sometimes you just have to approach the situation head-on but in a respectful way."
Language Interpreter answer example
"As a language interpreter, I have worked with all types of people - simple and difficult alike. The personality types that I find most difficult to work with would probably be they type that are not engaged listeners. It takes a lot of concentration to do what we do and if someone is not respecting my time, that can become frustrating. Luckily, I have not experienced this much. Overall, my clients have been quite incredible and easy to work with."
Marketing answer example
"I worked with a coworker who scoffed at other coworkers ideas and loudly proclaimed that he was the smartest person in our office. I approached him and our supervisor about the attitude and insults. It turned out that he did not want to work in our division and ended up requesting a transfer. Approaching the issue resulted in a win-win situation for all."
Retail answer example
"There will always be co-workers that are difficult. It's part of what keeps things interesting. Much of my job is finding common ground with people and positively relating to them. This requirement does not end with the customer, but rather is an important part of dealing with coworkers, whether in a management position or not. As far as obnoxious behavior, I ignore it as much as possible. There is a point where I will make it clear in a firm way that the topic at hand is bothersome or inappropriate and ask that it not be discussed in the workplace. The majority of the time, I focus on the good in people, even if they drive me nuts."
Sales answer example
"I often have to work across departments with a project manager who approaches problems, and people, very differently than I do. She is more comfortable taking an indirect, apologetic route whereas I prefer to tackle things head on and with enthusiasm. It was a challenge to get both of our ideas fully understood. However, once we both mapped out our visions in our ways, we were able to leverage each of our strengths to build on the other's ideas. In the end, not only was the project completed ahead of time and well received but also I learned some communication techniques from her that I still use to this day."
Teacher answer example
"In my current role, one of the classroom teachers and I have conflicting styles. She likes her students to be quiet. I like my students to be up and moving. I know I drive her nuts and it's gone so far as having the students tell me, "Mrs. P said we need to bring it down a notch." I am sure to be respectful of her and the classroom that we often share. I leave the class exactly how I found it. I can only keep doing my job how I best see fit while remaining respectful."