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    Tell us about a time when you had to work with someone difficult to get along with

    Everyone wants us to embrace diversity in the workplace. And it is indeed present in each and every corporation. Diversity of cultural and religious backgrounds, but also diversity of opinions, […]

    Interview questions answered: Give me an example of a time when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with

    Everyone wants us to embrace diversity in the workplace. And it is indeed present in each and every corporation. Diversity of cultural and religious backgrounds, but also diversity of opinions, attitudes to work, and expectations. And while we can learn a lot from each other, we may also find it hard to cooperate with certain colleagues, simply because we aren’t on the same page with them, when it comes to important questions and issues, either related to work or to life in general. Hiring managers try to understand whether you can deal with such situations, and how you deal with them.

    Before I analyze the question, and tell you what you should focus on while answering it, let’s have a look at 7 sample answers. You will find in my selection both conventional and philosophical choices, and hopefully at least one of the answers will resonate with you, and with the impression you try to make on the hiring managers.

    7 sample answers to “Give me an example of a time when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with” interview question

    I found it extremely difficult to work with a financial analyst in my last job. It was pivotal that they delivered their reports on time, and as early as possible, so we in the sales department could make the right decisions on each given day. But the analyst was a laid back guy. They were precise, they rarely made mistakes, just they did not do the job quick enough. After calmly explaining them a couple of times why we needed their analyses in the shortest possible time, and not being heard out, I got angry and sad some bad words in their direction, which I something I regret up to this point. Eventually I raised the issue with their superior, which was a more sensible solution, and the situation improved somehow. I still found it difficult to get along with them, but at least I managed to keep it professional, and did not start any other conflicts.

    Working as a barista, I shared close quarters with three or four colleagues on the shift. As you can imagine, in such a workplace it is easy to see who works hard and who’s laid back, playing with their smartphone most of the time, letting their colleagues do the hard work. And that was the case with one of the baristas. I really found it hard to get along with them, because excellent customer service was my first priority. I didn’t want to see customers waiting longer than necessary, just because they had one more message to reply to on Facebook… And raising the issue with the shift manager didn’t help, because they were the best of friends with the barista in question. Eventually I decided to leave the place, and that’s one of the reasons why I am here today, interviewing for a job with you…

    This is my first job application, so I cannot speak about an example from work. However, I am aware that you have a diverse team of people in place, and that I won’t find it easy to get along with everyone. In my opinion, however, it is completely all right. Our colleagues aren’t our partners, or our family. Sure enough, you become friends with some and won’t have much to talk about with others. As long as you keep it professional, however, and do not start pointless conflicts just because they believe in another God, or vote for another candidate in the elections, you should be fine. That’s exactly what I want to do–I want to focus on work, the goals we try to reach as a team, and not on things that separate up. This has worked well for me in school, and I am sure it will work fine in the job.

    I found it difficult to work with my superior in my last job, because they had unrealistic demands on me. I was a new force in the company, the training I got was extremely limited, and they expected me to work with SAP and other information systems I had no previous experience with. Having said that, I enjoy learning new things, and I wanted to get into it, and get the job done. But they expected too much from me, right from the start. I stayed two hours overtime every day during the first two weeks, and still it wasn’t enough–they still demanded more. Eventually I decided to leave the company after a month. In my opinion, it makes no sense fighting the windmills. I explained to them many times why I needed more time, but to no avail. The only option really was to leave, and so I did it.

    * May also interest you: 15 most common interview questions & answers

    Growing up in a strongly catholic family, I found it difficult to get along with my Muslim colleagues from the team. I just struggled to get over my prejudice, and they apparently had the same problem. Eventually I decided to avoid sensitive topics altogether, and also stopped wearing a necklace with a cross to work. I simply focused on the work, and didn’t react in any way to their religious remarks. It helped a lot, we found things we had in common–for example love for football, and eventually made a good team. I also believe that the experience helped me to mature, and I should not have problems with people from different backgrounds anymore.

    Source : interviewpenguin.com

    How To Explain Working With Difficult People In a Job Interview

    This simple technique will make you sound like a great co-worker.


    How To Explain Working With Difficult People In a Job Interview

    This simple technique will make you sound like a great co-worker.


    @JTODONNELL Getty Images

    Getting past the first interview is tough. Today, hiring managers tend to interview a half dozen people, choosing the best 2 or 3 for the next round. Making a good impression is a big part of what gets you to the second interview. It's a fine balance of presenting your personality, aptitude, and experience in a way that makes you seem like a good fit for the team. Science shows a big success factor when doing this lies in how you frame your view of others.

    Behavioral Questions Reveal Your Mentality Towards Others

    One of the reasons hiring managers love behavioral questions is how they let them see if you're a positive or negative person. How you describe working with difficult people says a lot about your mentality on-the-job. Studies show to be more likable, we need to talk about people in a positive fashion. So, what do  you say when an employer asks the behavioral question, "Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person?"

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    Be Objective & Take Some Ownership

    The secret to answering this question lies in your ability to take the emotion out of what happened. At Work It Daily, we call it the Experience + Learn = Grow Model. First, you objectively state what happened that resulted in the difficult situation with the person. Next, you reflect and take ownership of what you could have done differently to avoid the conflict. Finally, you describe how you turned the situation around and what you will now do in the future to avoid it happening again. I might look something like this:

    "I once had to work with someone who wasn't giving me the information I needed to do my job in a timely fashion. For a while, I thought he was doing it purposely to make me look bad. I was secretly frustrated. Finally, I sat down with him one day to inquire why he was being so difficult with me. I was shocked to learn that he was so worried about giving me the wrong information, he was triple checking his work, causing the delay. We had a great talk and I explained I'd rather he give me the information on time. So, we worked together to build a system of checks he could quickly do to be confident the information was correct. This experience taught me to never assume anything about a coworker until I talk to them. Communication is the key to getting what you need."

    See how this model allows you to be a positive person, even in a negative situation?

    Of Course, This Doesn't Work If You're Actually Negative

    While you might be able to nail this question in an interview next time, it won't solve your problem if you truly are negative at your core. Job seekers who get jobs the fastest are the ones that take the Experience + Learn = Grow Model and work through good answers for all types of behavioral questions. Consistent positivity is necessary for this to work. In fact, that's why hiring managers use behavioral questions - they know you can't game the system. If you really are negative, it will eventually show in your answers.

    PS - The More Experience You Have, The Harder It Is To Convey The Right Message

    My advice to those that can't seem to get past the first interview is to seek some help to discover if what you're saying is turning off employers. Sometimes, it's a lack of positivity. Other times, it's a lack of humility. Knowing how to present yourself in a balanced manner is important at every age. Just because you have years of experience doesn't mean you know what to say in an interview. I've seen lots of seasoned professionals blowing interviews because they didn't realize they were coming across wrong. Especially, if the person interviewing them was younger than themselves. Don't mistake experience for wisdom. You could sound like a negative know-it-all and not even realize it. Conveying wisdom in a positive and humble manner is what gets you to the next interview.

    JUN 27, 2018

    Source : www.inc.com

    Interview Question: "Tell Me About a Time You Worked With Difficult People"

    Learn why employers ask questions about working with difficult people and how to form your response, including two example answers you can use as a reference.

    Interview Question: "Tell Me About a Time You Worked With Difficult People"

    By Indeed Editorial Team

    Updated June 21, 2022

    Published December 7, 2021

    Related: Interview Question: How to Answer Hypothetical Scenarios

    In this video, Holl, a career coach at Indeed, explains how to best answer the tricky interview question, “How to Answer Hypothetical Scenarios”

    Employers commonly ask interview questions that challenge candidates to discuss their professional experiences with tact and self-awareness. For instance, an employer might ask you to describe an instance in which you worked with a difficult coworker to assess your personality and ability to work as a part of a team. If you're preparing for an interview, it may be helpful for you to learn more about this common question and how you can answer it effectively.

    In this article, we explain why employers ask questions about working with difficult people and the steps to take to form a thoughtful response, plus we offer two example answers to reference when crafting your own.

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    Why do employers ask questions about working with difficult people?

    Employers may ask you to tell them about a time you worked with difficult people to make a behavioral assessment regarding how well you work alongside others and what strategies you use to handle conflict at work. Your answer to this question may allow an employer to glean insight into your personality, perspective and approach as a professional. From here, employers may be able to better evaluate whether you're a good fit for an organization and its workplace culture.

    Related: 12 Tough Interview Questions and Answers

    How to answer "Tell me about a time you worked with difficult people"

    Answering this question can be a challenging task, as it requires you to avoid speaking negatively about your colleagues while explaining a difficult situation you encountered. With this, though, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you form an effective response:

    1. Consider an instance in which you experienced a specific challenge with a coworker

    When choosing an instance to discuss, try to identify one in which you experienced a specific challenge. It's important to avoid discussing a previous coworker's negative personality traits or lack of professionalism. Instead, focus on issues you've encountered with a colleague's particular actions that impacted your work.

    2. Speak objectively while explaining the premise of the situation

    As you begin to describe the premise of the situation, try to maintain objectivity. To do this, overcome the impulse to discuss how the experience made you feel and instead concentrate on the tangible impact of your coworker's behavior. Speaking objectively can help demonstrate your ability to approach work issues without investing in them emotionally.

    Related: 12 Ways To Deal With a Difficult Coworker

    3. Reflect on the experience and take ownership of your own actions

    While discussing the situation, reflect on the experience and try to be accountable for your own actions. Consider whether there is something you might have been able to do to avoid the conflict you experienced. Discussing this perspective of the situation can show employers that you're capable of taking ownership of your behavior as a professional.

    4. Detail how you resolved the situation and what you learned from it

    As you finish your response, describe how you resolved the situation. Detail the specific actions you took to overcome the challenge you faced and mend your relationship with your colleague. From here, end your answer by discussing what you learned from this experience and how you've grown from it.

    Related: 21 Tough Open-Ended Questions (And How To Answer Them)

    "Tell me about a time you worked with difficult people" example answers

    You may be able to answer this question more successfully after reviewing sample responses and using them as a guide in forming your own. Here are two example answers about working with difficult people from both an entry-level and experienced perspective:

    As an experienced candidate

    Seasoned candidates may have various experiences to draw from when answering this question in an interview. With each of these experiences in mind, try to choose an instance you can discuss that demonstrates your work ethic, leadership skills and ability to be patient with others.

    Example: "In my previous role as the director of student support and wellness, we had an automated system through which students made reports about their mental health or other issues that needed attention. I relied on these reports to know what students were struggling, so I could contact them and help them find the services they needed. Unfortunately, my coworker who processed these reports frequently fell behind in her duties and caused a delay in many of our interventions with students, which was a major problem due to the emergent nature of some situations we dealt with.

    While my coworker acknowledged her inefficiency, I realized she may not have truly understood the impact of the delay on our entire team's workflow. I asked her to lunch one day and explained the situation from my perspective. My coworker explained her processing duties were becoming overwhelming and could better meet expectations if she split her responsibilities with another colleague. We tried this system out, and thankfully the issue resolved itself within the following two weeks. This experience taught me that I can work through any problem alongside my coworkers—no matter how seemingly insurmountable it is—with patience and collaborative effort."

    Source : www.indeed.com

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