Behavioural Interview Question – Tell Me About A Time You Dealt With A Difficult Co-worker

Tell Me About A Time You Dealt With A Difficult Co-worker

Behavioural Interview Question – Tell Me About A Time You Dealt With A Difficult Co-worker


In this post, we’re going to answer the situational interview question: “Tell Me About A Time You Dealt With A Difficult Co-worker.”


I love this question! This is my favourite one, I think.

In this post, you’re going to learn:


  • Why this question is asked?

  • How to answer it step by step?

  • And how to wrap it up gracefully.

So, stay tuned.


OK, why is this question asked?


So, the interviewers asking you this question want to see how you behave when you have a problem with somebody in your group or somebody that you work with. So, things like this come up at work all the time, where you don’t agree with someone, or you’re trying to get someone to do something for you, and you can’t because they don’t want to.

So, how do you answer this question?


You may guess that we’re going to tell a story.

So, using the S.A.R.I. formula, which we’ll go through here…

S.A.R.I. means: Situation, Action, Result, Interesting features.

And how you answer it is tell a story with the beginning, middle and end. So, the story should be memorable, interesting and include enough detail to paint a picture for the interviewer.

So, they want to see that you don’t get personal or caught up in workplace drama. They want to see that you deal with the situation at hand diplomatically and are focused on the outcome that you want. It’s easy to get caught up in emotions of anger, frustration. They want to see that you just get to the point and diplomatically deal with the problem.

So, let’s talk about the key actions that you would take and you might answer the question.

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If you do love reading, let’s get back to it…


First, Step 1: Set the stage


This is the situation, where you describe what’s going on. So, an example here might be dealing with a lovely co-worker, who is a very nice person but who isn’t deadline-oriented, so they just don’t pay attention to deadlines, let’s say. Say you were working with this person, and you were working on an important thing that needed to be completed by a certain day, and he wasn’t meeting deadlines, and you were sure he wasn’t going to meet this one coming up. So, that’s how you set the stage.

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So, Step 2 is where you talk about the action that you took


So, the action here, for example, might be that you approached your co-worker and figured out what was going on, and you offered to help him.

Step 3 would be the results that came from your action


So, then you would explain what happened. For example, when you spoke to your co-worker, he mentioned that he was overworked, he was frustrated, and he didn’t have time to do everything that was expected of him. So, how you solved the situation was you offered to help him, and you offered to get some projects off of his plate by speaking to his manager with him so that he could meet the deadline that you had needed met.


And Step 4: What did you learn?


This is where the interesting features come in. So, you learned, for example, that to seek to understand first, to seek to help second… So, not to go in with anger or frustration, which is what most people would probably do when someone wasn’t doing what they needed done. So, instead of this, you took a different approach, which worked out very well because your co-worker was appreciative you understood him, and you were able to get the project completed on time.

In conclusion


And there we have it — a solid example of how to answer the Behavioural Interview Question: “Tell Me About A Time You Dealt With A Difficult Co-worker”

Thank you for reading, and if you’d like more help with these types of questions, you can click the link below to get the free instant access to the downloadable Free Guide to Situational Interviewing.

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What you’ll get inside the guide:


  • Top-ten examples of stories that have proven to be impressive interview answers

  • The S.A.R.I. formula breakdown of how to answer these questions

  • The step-by-step of why it works

  • Fill-in-the-blank templates for each question so, you’ll be able to fill in the blanks and get going!

  • Now you’ll need to come up with your own stories! (You can steal the ones in the guide if they apply to you though too, I don’t mind)


If you are still getting stuck because you can’t think of your own stories…

I’ve included 25 questions that you can ask yourself to come up with your stories much quicker!


You’ll get all this in a beautifully designed workbook prepared specifically for you to prepare for your interviews.

By the end of working through this guide, you’ll be feeling confident and ready for any situational interview that comes your way!

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By the end of working through the guide you’ll be totally ready for any situational interview question that gets thrown your way!

Click below and grab it now.

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And remember, the current system isn’t perfect, but you can outsmart it. I’m here to prove to you that you do have what it takes.


I will see you next week right here at my very own digital house.

In Work & Life

-Natalie Fisher