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Answering Behavioral Questions

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Rachelle Enns
Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune 500 executives find success in their career.
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Tell me about a time when you worked with a person who did things very differently than you. How did you collaborate?
Example #1
"(Situation) My fellow administrator and I approach our work differently very differently. I prefer mapping out the situation and putting myself on a timeline, whereas she prefers to jump right into the task. (Task) After working on a few projects together, it became apparent that we needed to find a better balance between our two working styles. (Action) I called a private meeting, where we openly discussed our differences. We agreed to split our tasks up and come together at the end of each day. We also agreed to keep the lines of communication open throughout the day. (Result) So far, this approach has resulted in a more streamlined process. As different as we are from each other, we both agree that so long as we get to the end goal together, it doesn't always matter how we got there."
Example #2
"(Situation) My coworker in HR had a completely different working style than me, even down to how we organized files. (Task) Tasked with a total reorganization of our digital files, I knew it was time that we learned how to mesh our two working styles. (Action) I made a list of the areas in which we worked differently from each other, and sat with this person to work out our process. We divided up tasks according to top skills and compromised on some procedures. (Result) We powered through the task, and came out of the project with a much better understanding of each other."
Example #3
"(Situation) When I began my most recent role, I replaced a manager who very much believed in a dictatorship management style. (Task) It was a huge challenge to undo the damage created among the team. (Action) Without too much disruption, I implemented a more relaxed management style. My team was so used to a stringent workplace that they resisted my methods at first. (Result) Once I developed trust as their manager, we were able to create a healthy workplace culture, and productivity increased by 24%."
Example #4
"(Situation) I recently collaborated with a designer who had a very different style of organizing and prioritizing work. I approach my work by scheduling meetings in advance and working off of lists. The designer was rarely prepared for meetings and spent a great deal of time talking about their personal life. (Task) I believed that we could work well together if we had clear boundaries and expectations. As the Marketing Manager, it was up to me to outline these boundaries. (Action) I took it upon myself to speak to that person about our different styles and come to an agreement on how we could work best together. (Result) The designer agreed and ended up adopting some of my organizational tools. I learned from this person, too, better embracing last-minute changes and creative pivots."
Example #5
"(Situation) When I worked at Store X, I was one of two team leads. Since we were sharing team and management responsibilities, we often had clashing opinions. (Task) I knew that I needed to collaborate with this other shift lead since our behavior would directly impact the productivity of our sales associates. (Action) By spending time writing out our main strengths, we were able to divvy up the work according to each other's strengths. (Result) This method solved the 'too many cooks in the kitchen' issue entirely."
Example #6
"(Situation) When I started my current job, my direct boss did things very differently than I. She was great with closing deals but was a tornado heading into meetings. She was always in a state of scrambling due to disorganization. (Task) It was hard to address this situation with her since she was my superior. However, I knew that my career success was also important. (Action) One day over lunch, we talked about our work stylings and how our professional styles impact the other person. (Result) We were able to cordially brainstorm ways that our styles could complement each other in the workplace. Since this conversation, we have worked harmoniously on multiple initiatives."
Example #7
"(Situation) One of my colleagues and I had opposing views on teaching styles. (Task) This difference in opinion became an issue after we were assigned to share a split-grade class of 40 students. (Action) I worked very hard to be respectful of her love of worksheets, while I demonstrated the importance of movement and variety in the classroom. I used studies, as well as my own student's test scores, to show her how much they enjoy the approach in my classroom. Together, we agreed on some of the ways we should approach teaching these shared students. These approaches included putting a limit on the amount of desk work we assigned. I agreed to include some worksheets, and she incorporated more movement in the classroom. (Result) This compromise was a huge win for us as teachers and, most importantly, the students. Grades have increased, and friction has significantly decreased."
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Our interview questions are created by writers, most of whom have a long history of recruiting and interviewing candidates. They do not necessarily have experience interviewing or working with the companies, careers or schools they may write for on We strive to match our experts' background and expertise with the appropriate question sets found on our website.