In an interview, hiring managers want to get a feel for your personality. They will ask probing questions such as “what kinds of people do you deal with on the job” to better understand your tolerance for others, your ability to work well with co-workers and how you handle upset customers.
One of the biggest difficulties in any work environment is dealing with disgruntled customers or co-workers you don’t get along with. Hiring managers ask this question in interviews to see how you interact with others and how you will fit in with the other members of the work team.
Points to Emphasize
In your response, it’s important to remember to stay positive and focused. Explain to the hiring manager that you had the opportunity to work with many different people and personalities in your former job and expound on the following points:
- While remaining positive, explain a particularly difficult situation with a customer or co-worker and how you contributed and helped resolve the situation.
- Give specific examples of how you are a team player.
- Mention your personality traits that draw others to you and encourage them to seek out your opinion and guidance.
- Be sure to give an example of how your people skills will carry over well into this position.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
This question can easily trap a novice interviewer. It’s important to have a positive response and only showcase situations that were resolved with your guidance and forthcoming.
- Do not mention co-workers or customers by name, as this can imply a tattle-tale nature.
- Do not negatively mention customers or fellow employees.
- State the situation accurately, but don’t dwell on it. Be concise and don’t offer too many non-essential details.
- Don’t forget to end your response with a reference to how well you will work with customers and co-workers in this new position.
A good answer to a tough interview question like this might be:
Working on various projects and teams throughout my career has allowed me the opportunity to meet and work with many different types of people. This has strengthened my communication skills and allowed me to learn valuable mediation techniques to resolve conflict.
For example, one time a customer was upset about a delayed product and was venting their frustrations to me. I listened calmly to the customer and allowed them to explain why they were upset. I then apologized and suggested several solutions to ensure our products wouldn’t be delayed again. We worked together to create a plan to ensure that this customer would receive their necessary products on time, and remain a happy, satisfied customer.
I look forward to the opportunity to work with your customers and team members. I am confident that my strong communication and mediation skills will prove to be a valuable asset to the company.