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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 get the job done?
How to answer
These situations seem to happen often in the workplace since everyone's work style is a bit unique. Maybe you are organized, and you had to work with someone who is not organized. Perhaps you are a 'big picture' thinker, and you had to work with someone who micromanaged the details. Maybe you are a technology whiz, and you had to work with someone who likes to do things with paper and pen. Start by discussing the project you were working on and the ways your work styles differed from each other. Explain how you came to a mutual consensus on how to conquer the project. Show the interviewer that you are capable of giving merit to other working styles, even if they do not match your own.
Answer examples
"My co-worker and I approach deadlines differently, and that is okay. I prefer mapping out the situation and putting myself on a timeline whereas she prefers to just jump right into the task. We have found a good balance of our two working styles after discussing our differences. On our last project, we agreed to split the tasks up and come together at the end of each day to put the pieces together. We have also agreed to keep the lines of communication open throughout the day. 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."
"I recently worked with a peer that had a very different work style in terms of how they organized and prioritized work. I approach work by scheduling meetings in advance and having a list of items to review to make the most of that time together. My peer was rarely prepared for the sessions, spent a great deal of time talking about personal items and operated in reaction mode to many situations. I took it upon myself to speak to that person about our different styles and come to an agreement how we could work best together. I am open to working with all types of people and welcome challenges with a smile!"
"My coworker in HR had a completely different working style than me, even down to how we organized files. I made a list of the areas in which we conflicted, and sat together to understand each person's thought processes. We divided up tasks that would be better served for one person to do (instead of both), compromised on some procedures, and powered through the rest by understanding each other."
Specific Career Examples
Sales Example
"When I started one of my jobs, my direct boss did things very differently than I did. She always closed deals, but always was a tornado heading into meetings. Since she was scrambling before the appointments I set due to her own disorganization, it looked like I was not preparing her, which was not the case. It was hard to address with her since she was both my boss and successfully closing deals, but one day over lunch we talked about how we each work and why, and how it impacts the other person. It turned out that she did have organization to her seemingly haphazard approach, but since it was so different to mine and never discussed, it was hard to see. We were able to brainstorm ways that our styles could complement each other and actually learned from one another some skills that we each incorporated into our own pitches and notes practices."
Retail Example
"In a previous role, I was one of two shift leads, and we split the duties of an assistant manager. Since we were sharing the responsibility, we needed to work like one person but had clashing opinions. In order for me, and the department, to be successful we had to hash it out and work well together. By spending time writing out what we did for our five main roles and why we did it, we saw that we had a ton of commonalities in the why, even if our ways of executing were vastly different. That meant we had something to build on and we figured out systems that would allow us each to approach the department in our own way, without putting more work or stress on the other person. Ultimately, we worked quite well together."
Teacher Example
"One of my colleagues with whom I have worked the longest has truly the opposite view as far as teaching as I do. That said, we are often both tasked with working collaboratively to lead the direction our department will take. I work very hard to be respectful but demonstrate how much more effective teaching with students moving and having fun is rather than sitting quietly doing worksheets. I use studies as well as my own student's scores on test, and their anecdotal endorsements to show her how much they enjoy class. Together, we finally have come to an agreement about some of the basic ways we have to teach including putting a limit on the amount of desk work we assign per unit. By agreeing to this, I've agreed to include some worksheets, and she's confirmed she won't use too many. This is a huge win for the department as a whole and students in particular."
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User-Submitted Answers

Tell me about a time when you worked with a person who did things very differently than you. How did you get the job done?
1.
A time when I worked with a person who did things differently was at xyz company I managed to get allow well with that person because we both combined our ideals to reach our goals.
2.
Probably not. Not clever, but very organized and a little lazy.
3.
By watching and learning what they were doing, if necessary, I was able to offer a different method in achieving the same goal. I would work with that person again.
4.
I've worked with someone who is very unorganized and needed frequent reassurance. I am an organized person that does not need a lot of prodding to get a job done. We got the job done by creating an outline and picking sections we felt we would be better suited for. I provided reassurance to my partner in the project and included her in the final decision process.
5.
Group project: Partners waited till the last minute. I like to get things done and not procrastinate. I took control and we set guidelines on when things should be done.
6.
Discuss the objectives of the task.
7.
I will try to make myself to understand him or her or will or will sit down and explain to him that we are the team so we need to discuss our options. Yes I will.
8.
We should both work in a cooperative and adaptable manner to understand each other activities to make the work flow smoothly.
9.
I was working with another paraprofessional who had different ways in teaching than I did. I offered to discuss our teaching methods.
10.
A team mate that did not prioryise taskes... It was important to share my knoladge of my tryed a tested method and after explaing my team mate agreed. Yes I will coz we work well together now that we understand each other better.
11.
I get the job done very patiently and tried not to push her/him too much. Gave she/he enough space to perform the task. Yes I would love to work with the same person again... If given choice.
12.
Everyone does things differently. But there are different ways to do things right. I just completed my steps of the task and let them so theirs. I wouldn't mind working with them again.
13.
Yes I worked that person and I worked hard.
14.
Yes I did even when there were done differently, I would definitely work with the person, there are time where the other person work shows you something can be done quicker and maybe a easier process, which can be a time factor.
15.
A situation where both approaches came to a solid completion of the job. To work with a team you need to consider all ideas and think out of the box and work it through. Compromising, listening and _______________________________
16.
Yes, its motivated me to learn more and its opens mind to new things.
17.
I got brought on board to work on an animated pilot for a tv series right after graduating from CCa. My animation supervisor although we clicked immediately after we began talking aover the phone, once I started working on the project I quickly realized that the way how we planned our animations was very different. However, the way we were able to get the job done was by allowing myself to listen to how she works and took what I thought would improve my workflow and ultimately make me faster and create better animations. I would definitely work with that person again. As human beings we are all different and we all have different ways of getting things done so it is important to be objective and try to learn as much as possible from each other.
18.
I worked with the other area manager who micro-manages. It was difficult, but I allowed her to give her input and would ask questions like "what if we did it this way". I would work with her again. Challenging, but in a good way.
19.
Someone who could not listen only there way sd be listened to.
20.
In the past I've worked with several people as a team.
21.
This takes me back to my internship at Enterprise. We had the task of selling protection products on our rental cars, and as a new hire it was very important that I show my co-workers that I have what it takes. So, I observed a fairly new co-worker of mine, that joined Enterprise three months prior to my arrival. I saw that she was more nonchalant in her sales approach, she would mention the products; however, she didn't present them in a way that intrigued the customer. After seeing her approach, I realized I wanted to place an emphasis on making the customer aware of the repercussions if the car is not protected. Everyone has a different approach, but I felt that providing examples, and making the customer aware of how exactly it works helped me to capitalize on numerous opportunities. In return, I was the top seller in June because of this.
22.
When given a job to accomplish, there are many different facets to that job. Your team members should choose the aspect they are best at and feel most comfortable doing. If someone is not up to speed, you help them complete their assigned duty.
23.
Try to work together and get the job done. Yes, we would both know each others abilities.
24.
I communicated and we came to an understanding. Yes, I would work with that person again.
25.
I got the job done by asking him what he wants to work on so I can work on the other part. We also brainstorm to make sure we are all on the same page and we knew how the results were going to be like before we started working on it. I will work with him again since I know his style of working.
26.
Yes I did it was a bit difficult but we managed to work it through but it took longer than normal yes I will work with him again.
27.
At my previous position we had a lot of procedures in place. One of the other team members did not follow these procedures and when I had to cover her role when she was on leave it was very difficult to figure out where she had left her work at. But I managed well in figuring out what to do and made sure I put 100% to get the best results. It's not also easy but if I had the choice I would definitely work with her again as she brought a different aspect and point of view to the team. Which can be a good thing.
28.
I will inform him about the right thing again and again but if I fill that he did that purposely i will ask why, to figure out and try to solve that with him, for sure if I offer to work with him again I have to make sure the job will done from his side.
29.
I have an employee that works on FF, I split the assignment and she worked at her pace and I worked at my pace.
30.
I made sure to express my opinion and even though the person did things differently from me I tried my hardest to consider the way they done things just so the job got done, if I was given the choice I think I'd give it a pass but obviously if I had no choice I wouldn't decline the request and would just make sure the job got done and was done properly.
31.
I remember working in a group with a girl who was very different from me, and I did not like her at all. Today she has become my best friend. I am a very collaborative person, and I respect others for their working habits. I would try to cooperate with them and expect them to do the same.
32.
Many times I can learn from new things from a person that does things differentlty.
33.
For sure because I would like to learn more different tasks.
34.
What I did was sit with that person and found out how they were doing it and and talked about how I did it and brainstorm together to herbage job done. Yes I would.
35.
I once was collaborating with a sales and design mem.
36.
Yes, I will work with him and I will improve.
37.
Yes, I will try to work with that person again and hope that it will be better this time.
38.
My current Lead Sales Associate showed me the way she unloads products and stocks the shelves. I took her advice and I am now able to get products out on the floor fast.
39.
You can always compromise.
40.
Compromise and sure always love a challenge.
41.
I did not have a situation where I had to work with a person who did things differently.
42.
I accepted the different ways of thinking and I tried to make everything good and profesional. Yea I would work with that person, because we can teach good things from others.
43.
I will rectify what is necessary to meet the requirements. I will work if it was intructed.
44.
I return from Greece and started to work in Romania. My executive manager was working differently form my ex manager so I kindly asked her to show me the way she likes to receive all the reports. She didn't want - so I asked a colleagues. Next meeting she was very happy. Of course I will work. All people are different - it is normal.
45.
In my last job my executive manager was doing all the things different from my ex manager Actually I was in different countries. So I ask her to detail e the way she want sme to wprk and report and things went very good. We all are differet - so this situation is normal. Of course I will work again with her.