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Think about a difficult boss, professor or coworker. How did you successfully interact with this person?

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

Updated 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 you interact with people who may have challenging personalities. Think about that one person at work who is seen as hard to please. Perhaps there is someone at work who tries to intimidate others. Show the interviewer that you work well with most personalities even though you recognize there are some folks out there who are quite difficult to please. Avoid speaking poorly of anyone and be sure to end your response on a positive note.

Professional Answer Examples
Answer example

"I once worked at a locally owned shop where the owner was very demanding. When he would walk into the store, employees would announce over their headset system that the owner was in the building, so that everyone could prepare for his entrance into their department. I believe he had great intentions; however, his people skills were a little rough. I could see that he meant well, and I recognized that he wanted to do a lot of good things. When we interacted, I always took his feedback with the understanding that he didn't mean things as harshly as he might say to them."

Answer example

"I once worked for an executive who was very difficult in meetings and with interacting with groups of others. I took it upon myself to help this person interact better with others. When she would bark orders, I would reiterate what she was trying to say to the group more professionally. It took some time, but she learned to behave in a way that made people want to work with her."

Answer example

"I have worked most of my career in the logistics industry which attracts a large variety of personalities. I am a warm person by nature and have found it challenging to connect with those who are cold and 'matter of fact.' My former boss was this way, so I adapted by sticking solely to the facts when in meetings, and presenting data versus opinions. It wasn't the deepest relationship that I've had in my career, but we made it work for us."

Answer example

"The most difficult person I ever worked with was my boss a few years back. She received a promotion to VP from the position I had been hired to fill and was unwilling to listen to my ideas to change the department. I believe she felt personally offended that I did not think her processes were the most efficient, but it was not personal. I sat with her for a one on one meeting when there were very few people in the building, and we had a nice chat about the positive changes she made to the department and my ideas to continue to grow what she began."

Answer example

"One of the most difficult people I've worked with was a customer when I was a personal shopper at ABC Department Store. She was notoriously difficult, but I took this on as a challenge. I gave myself incremental goals along the way, small checkpoints gaining even the smallest amount of affection, and made it a fun little game. Ultimately, I did win her over, and she became a great recurring customer of mine."

Answer example

"I struggled most with the new VP of Sales at my previous company. She was brought on with no experience in our industry and seemed to have little interest in it To win her over; I invited her on a business trip for an out of town client. I wanted her to meet my clients and spend one-on-one time together. We bonded as humans, mothers, and sales executives. She learned a lot about the company and industry, and I learned a lot about what skills she brought from her previous roles."

Answer example

"I had a coworker at the Spanish department who was very 'old school.' She came from the school of thought that children were to be seen and not heard. I believe that kids are kids and, to be able to learn most effectively, they need to get up and move. That said, we were able to put our philosophical differences aside and collaborate on building better, more effective curriculum for our students. Our execution may have been different, but we did agree on the fundamentals of teaching."

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: 06/29/2018
Last modified on: 07/22/2018

More Interview Questions

View user-submitted Answers

Think about a difficult boss, professor or coworker. How did you successfully interact with this person?
I had a professor that was extremely difficult. I made sure to ask questions to anything I didn't understand.
My teacher was very strict on her students at first I could not understand why she was so mean and at the end of the semister I realize she only wanted to see her students succeed and become something.
Sometime because the bosses previous experience it makes them difficult so I wouldn't dwell on their actions but I will focus on what they really want from me so I can work hard on it to keep our relationship going.
I had an English teacher with that had a severe disability and was hard to understand but required perfection out of his students. I spent one on one time with this professor in his office learning his ways and needs.
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