What Irritates You About Other People, And How Do You Deal With It?

The interviewer is really asking “How difficult are you to get along with at work” Employees who do not know how to properly express and manage frustration or anger are more difficult to manage and affect the job satisfaction of their coworkers as well. Stay as positive as you can and avoid the urge to rant or vent about past coworkers or supervisors who frustrated you, but stick to the effective ways you have managed irritation in the past.

Points to Emphasize

Being honest and positive when answering this question is paramount. Here are other key points to remember.

  • Be positive. It may be hard to stay positive when talking about something that is irritating to you but use the question as an opportunity to show your growth despite difficult situations.
  • Be truthful. Saying something like “I’m not irritated by other people” is simply not true and the interviewer knows that.
  • Use the question to showcase your ability to work as part of a team. The interviewer wants to know that you can cooperate with a group.
  • Give specific examples of when you have worked with other coworkers who might have irritated you to overcome these challenges and what you have done differently.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

There is great potential with this question to make mistakes. Here are some of the things to avoid.

  • Don’t ramble. When talking about something that bugs you, it’s easy to get going and start ranting. Your answer should be succinct and to the point.
  • Don’t mention irrelevant characteristics. Saying that people who pick their nose irritate you is irrelevant. Mention things that are related to the work.
  • Don’t avoid answering it altogether. A lot of people will try to get out of this question by saying they aren’t irritated by people. This is unhelpful and untrue.
  • Avoid ending the question on a negative note. Don’t just say “It irritates me when people don’t follow through.” Mention how you deal with the issue.

Sample Answer

Projecting confidence and not dwelling on the negative aspect of the question can help the employer know you a little better and find out how you will fit in.

It has bothered me in past positions when people have neglected to follow through with what they say they are going to do. Whenever I work as part of a team in a leadership role, I try to hold people accountable for what they say they are going to do. I will do this through emails or phone calls to check on the status and offer my assistance.

About the Author

LiveCareer Staff Writer

At LiveCareer, we live and breathe the belief that we can help people transform their work lives, and so do our contributors. Our experts come from a variety of backgrounds but have one thing in common: they are authorities on the job market. From journalists with years of experience covering workforce topics, to academics who study the theory behind employment and staffing, to certified resume writers whose expertise in the creation of application documents offers our readers insights into how to best wow recruiters and hiring managers, LiveCareer’s stable of expert writers are among the best in the business. Whether you are new to the workforce, are a seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, LiveCareer’s contributors will help you move the needle on your career and get the job you want faster than you think.


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