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.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."