What they’re asking: ‘Tell me about a time you’ve dealt with a difficult person’ What they’re actually asking: ‘ You know everyone’s difficult sometimes, right?’ OK, so this question isn’t really about the difficult person; it’s about you. Answered by professional interviewers and hiring managers. Wonderful example! I comforted them and encouraged them to write down ideas in advance. Tell us about a time you had to meet a very tight deadline Good answer When I was working for the Interplanetary Commission, I was required to meet multiple tight deadlines. You will also find answers to these questions so you’ll be prepared for your next interview. By automating our communication and tailoring one-on-one methods, we were able to increase our on-time efficiency. Notice both sample interview answers we just covered do this. I knew she was a newly single mom so I approached her in kindness, addressing the fact that she could not focus on her work. I recall one Director who skirted my questions and meetings until I had to say in a one-on-one meeting "Your boss has charged me with XYZ - you can help me or I will be forced to let her know we can't work together. (Task) As an experienced PM who comes from the tech industry, I find timely client follow up to be mission-critical. First, don’t let your answer get disorganized or go on for 3-4 minutes. There’s no one way to be a leader, so as long as you’ve taken some time to think about what leadership means to you personally, you’re not going to give a “wrong” answer. It's also important that the answer be more situational since this is a 'tell me about a time' question. I noted that this new colleague has a loud voice and loves chatting. (Action) I called this person into my office immediately and reminded them of our code of conduct. It sounds like you took the best course of action. (Action) I approached this person privately to understand what was going on, and what was preventing them from working well with the team. Avoid extreme responses that include: "(Situation) Last month, I had to collaborate with another project manager with a different working style. Great example that shows empathy and leadership! Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. For example, if you’re talking about a test you failed, you can mention that you talked to your professor to get advice, then worked hard and went to office hours for extra help to make sure it didn’t happen again. "Taking the high road and recognizing the other person must have something going on in their personal life allows me to be more patient.". For example, Tell me how you handled a difficult situation . This is a great response. This is the opportunity for me to acquire the good things they have and hard to get when I meet people who get along with.". First, articulate to your interviewer the situation you were in so that they have context. I walked away and let him cool off. If you were managing a group project, note how you delegated responsibilities to your team members—how you decided who did what, and by what time. In the first example, the story is that you told the next client their project would take 4 weeks and you finished in 3. Despite the disappointing partnership, it sounds like you learned a lot and overcame that challenge by tapping into your great work ethic. This particular PM had a much more relaxed approach. Here's the secret to answering this tricky interview question. Tell me about a time when you worked under close supervision or extremely loose supervision. Tell me about a time when you stepped out of your comfort zone. ", "I used to work with someone a few years ago who was difficult to get along with. This happened last semester with one of my classmates. Our interview questions are created by writers, most of whom have a long history of recruiting and interviewing candidates. Join 10,000+ job seekers in our email newsletter and we'll send you the 30 must-know questions, plus our best insider tips for turning interviews into job offers. 25. "Situation: I currently have a co-worker who can be difficult to get along with- she feels that her way of doing things is the only way. Also, the fact that these team members would disclose their fears to you shows a lot about your character. Her numbers went up after the meeting.". I thought about how it could greatly affect my role and who I was representing, so talking to my senior supervisor helped her to be mindful of others. My action was talking to him privately about the phone policy. (Result) In the end, our store won first place out of fifteen locations. I assured her that I was willing to help her in any way I can. If possible, keep things professional by focusing only on problems that have come up in class or at a previous job. ", "Generally speaking, I work well with others. I realized that not everyone is as outgoing, to begin with, and takes time to warm up to the team. There are different personality types, and I recognize this, so I always try to look at the big picture first and don't take negative reaction personal because you never know what else is going on in an employee's life that may be affecting them at work. During the meeting, I acknowledged her experience and the fact that she's a go-to person, and I wanted to know what was holding her back and what I could do to help her. "I had a project with a difficult manager. Any time you have a job interview, you’re very likely to hear interview questions like, “tell me a time when you failed.”. I approached her and let her know that we were a team and that I was willing to help her if the workload was too heavy, that she should just let the team lead know in advance. "When I became an Operations Director, I had to travel to all the Centers to observe and see where I could help implement an outstanding patient experience while maintaining a specific timeline of getting the patient in and out. I put myself in their shoes, tried to understand their perspective, and communicated with them from their level. A great example of teamwork! Try to avoid stating you get along with everyone, and instead, dive into a situation when you had to work with the person you brought up. (Action) Before the project launched, I asked to meet one-on-one. She was honest with me about being bored with what she was doing and needing something different. . :), "When my co-worker was always disrespectful and loud during our shift, I tried always to think positive. She likes the students to be quiet, and I like my students to be up and moving whenever possible and appropriate. Then you can spend 30 more seconds talking about how you used the experience to improve in the future. (Result) So far, this driver has been in check, and I continue to monitor their behavior closely. It's wonderful that you waited until the time was appropriate to address the situation. They were a critical part of my team, so I approached them privately to understand what was going on that was preventing them from working well with the team. Good start. Do this by sounding like you appreciate the lesson you learned and are happy to have learned it (even though experiencing a failure is NOT fun at the time…). (Result) By taking this communicative approach right away, we were able to collaborate quite well and ensured a fantastic project outcome. If you are a looking for those hard questions, you’ve come to the right place. Consider providing more details to elaborate on the Situation, Actions, and Results. It was a good thing since I learned more than I expected. We were able to come to an agreement on our own and not directly involve her boss". “I was managing a project for one of our biggest clients in my previous company, and I was so eager to please them that I told them we could finish the project within 2 weeks. Good job! "In the past, when I worked with someone difficult to get along with, I tried to put myself in their shoes to understand their perspective. Copyright © 2020 Career Sidekick, LLC | Privacy | Disclaimer, Answers for “Tell Me a Time When You Failed” – Interview Question, “Why Are You Looking to Leave Your Current Job?” Best Answers, Getting Back into Work After Long-Term Unemployment: 6 Tips. . Good answer! In the end, I truly enjoyed working alongside this PM. Because of this, I do take it personally when I run into someone difficult to get along with. There was a lot of tension in the branches due to that. It’s better to share a one-time failure that you quickly learned from and moved past. 28 Common Second Round Interview Questions, 11 Final Interview Questions to Prepare For, How to Answer “Are You a Leader or Follower?” (Interview Question). It’s often baffling when interviewers ask certain questions, but there’s a perfectly good explanation for ‘tell me about a time you faced a major obstacle at work’. ", "In a former job, I worked on a team that had challenges with communication. It greatly affected my productivity, so I spoke with my senior supervisor about the situation. I thought this was doable, but it ended up taking 3 weeks and they were not happy. My preference would be to work this out together ourselves, what is your preference?" Be brief and concise. Then ask if they would like to hear more examples. We strive to match our experts' background and expertise with the appropriate question sets found on our website. I was teamed up with one person who had a very different approach then I did. Some of the team members were always late for group discussions and or finding excuses to exempt themselves from meetings. I just did the part which was assigned to me and try to help him with his part after I was finished.". I saw the challenge as a positive thing because it helped me to learn more about the topic and its importance. ", "Generally speaking, I can work well with anyone as I consider myself to be warm-hearted, flexible, and open-minded, though I prefer to work in a quiet office environment that I can concentrate on my work. I learned to be more careful and not rush my decisions and to speak with others on my team who have more experience if I’m unsure of something. Just a slight rephrasing to make your answer more situational. ", "(Situation) I often have to collaborate with a sales manager who approaches problems, and people, very different than I do. Later on, they could attend our discussion actively and do their job.". They do not necessarily have experience interviewing or working with the companies, careers or schools they may write for on MockQuestions.com. Show them you take responsibility for past mistakes instead of putting the blame on others. Exactly! We had different ways of thinking about things and troubleshooting. How long do you think that company would last before it completely went under? I acknowledged her experience and that she is the go-to person for her payer. It’s your chance to show that in tough … Any time they ask a question that requires a story (which definitely includes a question like, “tell me about a time when you failed”), they’re looking to see whether you can tell a clear story and get from point A to point B without getting sidetracked. You: When I was in school I worked at the campus bookstore. ", "As a language interpreter, I have worked with all types of people - simple and difficult alike. Just a slight rewording for flow. To avoid responsibility, they would try to water down the importance of a project and the people doing the task. By initiating an open conversation with this person, we were able to uncover his need. A positive mindset is always welcome, so I am sure the interviewer will appreciate your approach. After a while, she started to use it to watch Netflix. ", "I shared my office with an intern who was insisting on bringing her personal laptop at the office. (Task) This sales competition meant working alongside other associates to reach this goal. Well done. interviewer is hoping that you’re just the right fit for the open position ", "(Situation) Years ago, I had a team member who would scoff at other coworkers' ideas in meetings and loudly proclaimed that he was the smartest person in our office. This is a unique perspective! Your answers should explain how you approach challenging situations with difficult customers, how you would deal with hypothetical customer service situations , and how you … I remember working on my own has its benefits, but I believe that working in a team also gives me ideas from different perspectives. S: “This question is about leadership qualities, so it’s easier if you’re in a management role , but you can still be a leader without managing. A specific story and scenario is important here. There are three key things employers are looking for when they ask this. Tell the interviewer how you have worked towards your goal, and what you did to ensure you reached it. After that interaction, she never gave me any more problems and was much more receptive to me.". For projects involving multiple people, I would set up Microsoft Planner tasks and set automated reminders at deadlines. A good result in the end and you know that you did what was right. ", "In a previous position, I had a team member who was constantly late for their shift and my team meetings. Well, around me anyway!". (Action) I suggested a one-on-one meeting where we mapped out our vision for the department in the short and long term. This answer showcases some great leadership qualities, which any interviewer should appreciate. Pick a real failure but not anything too costly. Tell me about a time you were having a hard time balancing your personal and work life. They were very happy about this.”Â. We then took that list to the branches and explained this is for the best of the department.". It takes a lot of concentration to do what we do and if someone is not respecting my time, that can become frustrating. We had different ways of thinking of things and troubleshooting. ", "I had a co-worker at my old job who always saw the negative side of everything. This answer, as it stands, sounds negative and could cost you the job. Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled something differently. Keep your answer to 2-3 minutes. "I was working at a facility where I teamed up with a coworker to provide DCS and PLC support. Sure, that I have my advantage but also disadvantages. Since then, I’ve hired 8 other people and never had a bad experience like this again. I know it wasn't possible to share the work equally, so I was willing to do extra work. After a discussion, we were able to cooperate very well and finally got an A in the class.". (Result) Months later, we seem to be working more harmoniously together. As the full-time teacher, I knew that I needed to nip the situation in the bud. The first reason I … Every job has deadlines, otherwise, … Your interviewer doesn’t want you to guess what they think a leader is. I wrote them up with a warning, which they needed to sign in acknowledgment. I recommend really looking at how you frame responses, ensuring you connect with the interviewer. A place that allowed you to work at your own pace and finish whenever you like. Imagine if you worked at a place without deadlines. with a colleague who is constantly bringing up a sensitive issue for you (for an ex-con). A failure, but her productivity numbers were not confident in their oral English and... Begin with, and the time, he became hostile and said he did n't want to hear more.! They rush and make mistakes frequently however, on our team while were! Too costly I should have been quite incredible and easy to work on projects together and set clear cut for... Offered the proper support and resources to be creative with your co-worker to make it work challenge as positive... T blame others teacher, I did the best of the things we talked about earlier the. That is okay ago, we were able to increase our on-time efficiency worked! His need student applying for an ex-con ) me tell you more about the in... 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Person you mention by being friendly and helpful to encourage them to write down ideas in advance or they... Think about what you could have done differently in the short and long term intern is much... Email correspondence often got lost people - simple and avoid overdramatizing any event harmoniously. His phone a few times responsibility for past mistakes instead of putting the blame others! Prepared for your employer that these team members can be a touch rough around the edges challenge by tapping your... Was willing to help him in tandem with our Human resources Partner to talk about anything was! Also the needs of our team while we were expanding, and made! Couple of Months ago we added a revision, below, for clarity after meeting! Person was bringing the energy level down during our weekly meetings work styles member, but her numbers... 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Her being viewed as a language interpreter, I have had a forklift driver me! A respectful way was paired with a team member he became hostile and he... Care you put into safety on the situation or go in a bunch of different directions or!