During a job interview, you might encounter the following interview question “What would you do if you didn’t get on with someone in your team?” Other similar interview questions are “If you don’t like a coworker, what would you do?” OR “How do you deal with conflict in the workplace?“
The reason why interviewers ask this question is to examine your assertiveness, meaning are you confident and not afraid to say what you think. It’s a behavioral interview question to see how you handle and communicate your message to coworkers. Down below you can find a great example answer:
“Well, I would never let my personal feelings get involved at work. I mean, I am hired to engage in collective activities to help improve the company website and deliver professional results. Liking or not liking coworkers should not influence my work attitude towards them.
Now, if that person’s personality gets in the way of myself or the team doing our job, which actually happened when I was a [Job title] at [Company XYZ], I’d confront that person in a 1-on-1 meeting and say something along the lines of:
“I really do appreciate your efforts in regards to [Task 1] and [Task 2], but the reason why we are having this meeting here today, is to talk about an area where I think you can do better in [Followed by the issue]” I’d also make sure not to end this conversation in a negative note.
I’ve worked with several difficult and unlikeable coworkers and I believe that direct communication is most effective. It was important to me not to gossip or encourage critical discussion of that person but instead focus on the work.”
Example Answer (No Experience)
“I’d try to figure out a way to get along with this person. I could try to change some of my own behavior when he or she is around, show some empathy and see if I notice any change in behavior.
Or, I could directly clear the air and say something along the lines of “I must have said something wrong in the past. Is there anything I can do to improve our working relationship?”
If that doesn’t work out, I’d stop focusing on my peer’s behavior or what he/she did or didn’t do. From that point on, I’d focus on clear communication, getting the assignment back on track and completing it.”
Interview Question Tips
- Don’t say you’d report the coworker to your boss. The interviewer wants to hear how you’d deal with a difficult coworker NOT how you’d let somebody else solve the problem.
- Do show your willingness to find common ground. Share some of your methods and techniques to rebuild a positive working relationship.