MockQuestions MockQuestions

Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with.

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

Updated on July 22nd, 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

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!

Professional Answer Examples
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 have to approach the situation head-on but in a respectful way."

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."

Answer example

"As an experienced manager, I have worked with a variety of people who challenge me. Especially being in the logistics industry, many of my team members can be a touch rough around the edges. When this happens, I will ask them privately to be mindful of their language or level of inappropriate behavior in the workplace."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

Written by:

Heather Douglass
Heather Douglass has over 20 years of experience recruiting and hiring candidates. She has a knack for resume writing. You can find her on twitter at @heatherinidaho.
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.
Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 03/06/2011
Last modified on: 07/22/2018

More Interview Questions

View user-submitted Answers

Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with.
I explained myself to him and he explained him self we worked around our self and just focus to on the job.
Once a reservation was missed in the system and we were fully booked. The custumer called that he is in the airport and waits for his car. I kindly request him to give me 5 minutes and I call back. I subrented a car fr.
Concrete sequential. Toxic, cancerous. Didn't want to take accountability. Mirrored what I expected. Demonstrated empathy. Seek understanding.
Associate was a part-timer that had no ambition to work quickly and I had a talk with him and explained that he must first show self-motivation if he ever wanted full-time and it seemed to have worked.
Capsim simulation- loved working with it and was good at it but he would not take anyone's considerations when developing over strategy-asking quesitons of his strategy and why he was choosing that strategy-really communicate and get an understanding of why he was choosing what he did.
Swim and Tri. Found another project and discussed situation with boss.
I had to work with someone who always wanted things their way, I had to be very patient with him.
A highly flammable room below in danger of exploding due to high temps, Working on a rooftop with a know it all technician, who wouldn't do what he was asked to in an emergency situation... I took it over, performed necessary service to alleviate danger.
I went over the goals and spoke in a positive tone about the job at hand.
Some girl who is not convivial with anyone.
We had to work as a team to finish a project at school, but one of the team members wouldn't participate, so the rest of the team teamed up and he no longer is a problem since he is in hospital now.
I am in this situation. A manager was spreading gossip about me. I don't take it personally. I concentrate on the job, but still address the situation.
I tried to work with them and make them feel more comfortable.
Again I have to refere to the paper with joint authorship. I the end the output was positive, but of course we all jhad to give up a little bit.
I worked with a manager that had a chip on his shoulders. He made life miserable for everyone. Everyone day I would say Good morning Smiley and everyevening I would say goodnight smiley. He would grumble. After about a year I thought that it doesn't matter what I do, this guy isn't going to lighten up. So I decided that I wasn't going to stop. To my suprise, after about a week of me not greeting him. I walked into the office right by him and as I was leaving the room, I heard "Good morning smiley" I turned and he had a big grin on his face. He told me that at first I irritated him but that after awhile he started looking forward to my hellos. After that we got along just fine.
In this industry you will sometimes work with individuals that it will be difficult to get along with, but as long as we communicate, we respect each other we can accomplish the goals of the org. During my time working here I have had to work with difficult people. I respect their work, and thier opinions, and I hope they do the same for me.
In my current postion there are people who come from all over the world. One woman who is from russia and when I first met her, I thought she wasn't a fan of mine but once I got to know her I realized that she is a very nice person and wonderful coworking. It is just understand the customs of different cultures.
I find it easy to work wit other people.
I had a supervisor who always made things difficult for me but I kept my momentum going by having a meeting with him and my manager. I stayed on low profile until I had to leave after my internship.
One time I had a colleague who was very rude and imperative. Was really difficult to work together, but one evening I invited her for dinner out and you and up the best friends.
I treated that person as a co-worker and learned to separate personalty from the person and just worked with them the best way I could.
I tell he or she what wrong with me.
Over the summer during my internship, I had the pleasure of working with many great people, who rooted for your success, and wanted to help. However, I ran across a gentleman who worked in my branch that just had a very negative attitude. He wore his emotions on his sleeve, so you could see when he did not want to be there. He also would make slick remarks about looking for a new position, and it just was very uncomfortable to be around. However, being a new intern I didn't want to rub any one the wrong way so I just ignored it, but sometimes that would not work. After listening to him complain for two hours straight, I had to come at him in a polite honest manner, and see how we could make this work environment a more positive atmosphere.
As there was no alternative and I have to wrok with the person who is very difficult to handle. In this situation will try to understand him or his way of working and try to make some changes in myslef rather then cribbing or getting into another argument with the fellow.
Lision carefuly.
Was told by other staff that she can be difficult at times. One day she was my buddy I worked with her with no problems.
I worked with a jealous co-worker who tried to undermine me. I kept a positive attitude and made a conscious evaluation of my behavior to make sure I wasn't doing anything to add to his resentment. I tried to work as a team with him but he continued to talk about other co-workers and me. I checked myself to make sure I didn't follow up with negativity. My philosophy is if you join in with the negativity then you're not progressing in your job. The administrator recognized the negative impact of this individual and removed him from his position. You can't control other people but you can control your response to difficult people.
Rude consultant.
At my current job, one of the employees in extremely difficult to get along with. With this individual, I tend to be clearer in my requests, and try to figure out solutions to problems before asking questions, as to not aggrivate the person.
A advisor didnt seem to like me, which I have no problem with, as long as we can work together to ensure good service.
I had one co-worker that didn't really like following the rules and was rude to customers. I spoke with my supervisor whenever problems would arise. It turns out that this particular employee had multiple complaints against him and he wasn't working with the company for very long.
I think if you want you can get along with anyone, just communicate and try to be friends.
H& asftery see the ggod things and advantage.
This person was angry with their job and I stated that we split the job in half and we complete our work.
Obviously when I was working combinely on a project with one of my female colleague she always used to work on her own inspite of my regular suggestions. Which was a very difficult.
Hot headed people who react in yelling to accomplish a situation. Asking them to step back and get some air so that you can discuss the situation calmly.
Had a cook one time and she was always in a bad mood.
I had to work with a fellow team mate who did not want to have a cut off number at a recent fundraising event we were planning. She wanted to get in as many bodies as possible whereas I wanted the event to be an event everyone would enjoy and not feel like sardines in can. Let's just say it was quite an experience and took a lot of convincing to get her to see that having a cut off number was the way to go.
I got an old job back in the past and there was a young guy that was a know it all and would try telling every one how to do there jobs and how he does the job and one day he needed help so I assisted the know it all and got the job done.
I havent had anyone that I havent not got on with as I feel I am a quite likable person with a bright personality.
I haven1t this kind of work, because I am able to work with difficult persons.
I had to accept him the way he was because it was destebing my work and my behavior towards my work.
America embassy in library their list of name donors cash can helping in tanzania bank user cash cheque or cash pays from these ambassador.
A time I had to work with someone difficult was at my camp . She would alays try being better then me and taking my spot when I ws supposed to be singing. I just ignored it and let it go.
In high school there was a girl in my group that would not let anybody put in their opinions about the project, but I told her that I would really appreciate if she would consider my idea.
When I was working with a group in one of my communications courses there was a group member that I did not care for, she was unreliable, and did not do her fare share of the work. I started out by talking to her in person in a very polite way. I reminded her of what she needed to be getting done and she would tell me that she understood and would do so right away. Unfortunately she did not pull her end of the weight so I ended up speaking with my proffesor so that I would not be penalized for her shortcomings.
The old SVP of product was eventually let go for being such a challenge to work with. He was consistently innaprpriate, aggressive, disrespectful and vulgar to everyone around him. Regardless I had to work with hi to ensurethat the needs of my region were being met and I was getting the resources I needed to be successful. It wasnt pleasant, but work would be called play, if it was always fun.
Once I was working with a senior colleague. He was not good with computers and we transferred our data from manual to online. He was senior so gave me a real tough time in the beginning as time passed by he was also getting familiar with online system and I also stayed calm and trained him.
The person and I were assigned to instruct a class together. So I suggested that we split the time in half and we were able to instruct the area we felt more comfortable.
I had a coworker who loved to talk. I didn't mind talking but I found it bothersome to work alongside her because our efforts to complete our assigned takes was being hindered. However, I learned to suggest during the conversation that we should get back to work and maybe talk at a later time.
No. I can work with other easily I can adopt to the conditions.
I had work with some one I am very happy.I can be share with some one it is good for my profession. Some one heart me I don't bother about it >In my view any one can be help in my way I will do it in any situation.
When I was a supervisor some of my staff was older than me and always challenged me on everything. I believe in open communication and simply asked what I could do to make the office a place where everyone respected each other. Some stated they were unaware of their attitude and some I did not win over however the ones I did not win over simply had a problem working under someone that was younger. I remained professional at all times and a knowledgeable resource.
In a class prject I had a team member who refused to come to meetings and was upset about the project as a whole.
I worked with a girl who transferred to 379 and acted as if she knew everything. She couldn't be taught anything. Everything was super easy in her eyes. I gave her, her space and was there to help when she realized she didn't know everything.
At my current job, I would say that one of my current coworkers is difficult to get along with because of their work ethic. Although she has improved much, there are times when she does not do her job. But, it does not mean that I do not get along with her. We are friendly and do not argue. But I have found it difficult to work with someone who doesn't do her job at times. As with the other question, to address the issue I would explain and show her how to do the task and its importance to the team. As a result, I find it easier to work with her now.
Each human being have their own thinking and perceptions. So we come across situations wherein the other person's thinking doesn't match with us. If I relate the same while working, so the situation would be - While handling the work queue I was telling few of my team members to move on to a particular queue whereas the other person was a total miss match.
One who is not a team player, so he made communication difficult and consequently affected the data generated. The solution was to deploy him to roles that are more independent.
When I would encounter these situations, I have learned that treating others with respect and having an intuitive and instinctive understanding of how to avoid difficult situations with people has always been two very good ways to avoid difficult work relationships. Usually being friendly and respectful to my coworkers has always led to healthy work relationships and I do not encounter these problems.
I had to work with someone who has a negative attitude. I was just extremely upbeat and eager to work with this person.
Working with a difficult person has not been an issue for me to date. I find it very easy to get along with people and make friends easily. If the situation did arise, I would try to talk with the person to see if I could find out what the problem is and to see if we could come to a neutral ground. I do not think that people are intentionally trying to be hard to get along with, there are circumstances in everyone's life which will lead to a bad day.
I had to work with someone who had a very negative attitude about a task we were doing. I stayed positive and energetic and did not let the negativity affect my task.
At a previous job their was this lady every one complained about her attitude. One day she was sitting in nurse lounge crying. I walked over and asked if I could offer any assistance. She ignored me. I sat in silence until the end of my break when I got up to throw my trash away she started talking to me about how stressed she was with work and her sick child with asthma. Later that day she thanked me for listening to her vent briefly and not pre judging her.
When I am talking to customer then other person will interact with my conversation that time I feel difficult my situation.
In high school a lot of the other people in student government were very hardheaded and didn't take very kindly to suggestion. Working with them may have been difficult at times but I knew that if I wanted to accomplish any of the goals set by our supervisor I was going to have to find a way, so I made a lot of compromises and was forced to work on some things by myself, but eventually we all worked things out, and met every goal we set for ourselves.
I have to make a presentation with someone that I really don't get easily but the presentation went well at the end.
New colleague with no background with the job. Be patient and be always nice and willing to help by setting a good example.
It's not easy to work with someone who is difficult, but my easy going attitude allowed me to make it through the day. I didn't let what the person say or do get to me.
It is common for new employees to find one of his team members who feels that he deserved this position that you are on. <br />It took me 2 years of dedicated help in all difficult projects, protection from issues raised against him and also during HR presenations in the various management meetings<br />I have now gained the trust, but I was a lot of hardwork, i'm great at getting along with people, I state it as my strength, so this was the toughest experience that I had, 2 years an awfully long time to be on good terms with your team member.
I work well with others and have never had a problem with anyone I worked with.
Worked with a non supportive worker, convinced.
I had been many time in this situations before but I can work perfactly with member of the team or individually if I am needed to.
One supervisor I had she was hard to talk to as she wasn't really that social and she went right by the book so if you missed anything while cleaning you heard about it<br />
I work with 10 program managers in my current role, 2 can be a bit difficult and others don't get along well with them. I have built a trust with these people and they come to me with work instead of going to others because they know they can count on me.<br />
Working in the ER you have a lot of strong personalities. Typically I don't let irrational or difficult behavior bother me. I figure out the best way to get along and work with them and continue to do the best job I can. Just like with the nurse that didn't like to leave the desk. Sometimes you have to get creative.
I had to work as part of a team and create a drama piece with someone who was really difficult to get along with as we where actually enemies, although it was hard for me and most probably her too we got on for the time we had to spend together to create the piece and got the job done.
In a group project, one of the member was hard to get along with but I did not confront him because it would be worse if I did it. Instead, I went along with him and agreed with him.
I wasworking to zama who came from nengeria she was not understanding english so it was difficult for us to communicate upuntil I dedicate my self to learn her languange.
Yes, I did faced such a condition when I was working for my college magazine and had a colleague with whom I shared certain differences.. But beyond all personal problems we worked together and did our work successfully and professionally, thus making our team a success.
I had no such experiences yet. I would say its my luck that I always had teammates who would cooperate and motivate each other to achieve the targets.
During my paper presentations, I am with a friend who is entirely different with my habits and behavior. But I cope up with him.
First of all the roles and responsibilities are getting cleared. So there is no unwanted interation? Complete your task and help that person complete his or her.
I work with someone who has listening to some of peoples only.
Many times I have worked with people that are of a different mind set than myself. I have learned and strive to continue to be a team player. This requires that I find ways to work with people that are in a different place than I am. I believe having an open mind and ability to find the best in co-workers leads to accomplishing that task.
I had a lady that work with me she did not know how to talk to people she always talked down to everyone and after working with her for a while I realized she didnt even know that is how she talk to people that was a challenge for me becasue I dont think anyone needs to be made to feel they are dum.
Working with an employee with a chip on his shoulder and planning with them for 8 months by letting them step up to the plate and we all worked as a team,.
Yes I faced that situation. While in my college I present paper on other instituations. At the time I cope up with a guy who is entirely different on behavoiur and decisions. I adopt and shape myself to that situations and made that presentation successful.
At Wrights, I came into a newly created position where the company wanted to hire someone from outside to bring a fresh perspective to the marketing mix. There was a lady at the company who thought she should have been promoted to the position due to her experience there. She insisted on interviewing me along with the hiring manager and had to give her approval for me to be hired. She did not agree to report to me and had a hard time adjusting as she was given the responsibilty of training me.<br /><br />I sensed this as we worked together, even thought the manager did not prepared me for the conflict as she should have. When I talked to the manager, she did admit it and gave me a little background on the situation, but left it up to me to resolve. I ended up stiing down with the lady and being honest- explaining my background, why I was chosen and how we could work together. I also empathized with her situation and promised to always be straight with her. <br /><br />We ended up working well together, and she would come to me for advise on how to further her career, how to get the training she needed to advance and how she could improve in her job.
Try to make the best of the situation. Not step on any toes. Do the job.
I generally get along very well with most people, although there have been times in my working career that I have had minor difficulties due to personality conflicts and differences in working styles. I try my best to put myself in the other persons position, and find a common positive. In these situations I find that remaining open minded and giving that little extra to do little things like say hello or offer my assistance helps ease my feelings of fustration and in most cases has helped.
Yes yes ihad worked with my shift incharge. He will talk regarding production and I will talk regarding quality.
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