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What types of people, or qualities in people, give you trouble at work?

This is a tricky question, even if not exactly a trick question. The interviewer uses this question to gauge a candidate’s flexibility, their ability to get along with other people. They might have seen something on the resume that leads them to believe there might be a problem, or maybe they’ve heard it from someone. Don’t worry about what triggered the question, it might just be part of the planned interview process.

A good answer includes:

• Assurance that you get along with people
• A brief mention of a person or quality
• A specific situation
• How you handled it positively, solved it to continue a positive work environment
• What you might have learned from the situation or person

Taking credit:
“I generally don’t have problems with people, but a few years ago a co-worker kept taking credit for my work and sole credit for the team’s work. I got together with this person and explained how those actions were negatively impacting everyone. It wasn’t just the credit and possible rewards, it was morale, who wants to work if someone else takes the credit? She quickly changed her behavior, and everyone was happier. I learned that giving credit where it’s due makes for a better work environment.”

Snitch:
“I get along with people at work, but once there was a co-worker who literally kept a book on everyone. If someone did something not by the book, he’d write it down like he was a hall monitor, then report it in writing to management. A few of us got together to speak with him, but he wouldn’t listen. Eventually he was fired, most likely because of the strife he was causing. It’s important to be a little flexible, not everyone follows all the rules at all times, but the key is whether or not they get the job done.”

Really digging into someone’s negatives only makes you look bad. An answer like this one would make everyone hesitate before hiring you. “This jerk thought he was a hot shot because he made more money than others, and had a degree. I put him in his place more than once. I can’t stand people like that,”

One potential employee gave an excellent answer “There are a lot of different people and personalities in a work environment. I don’t dwell on problems they cause, but rather on how they fit together to build a strong team.”

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