I am looking for solid wording to answer this interview Q, which seems to be pretty standard, including all its variations (w/ bosses, peers, directs, customers, etc, and the many ways in which it can be asked). In my case I get along really well w/ some, fairly well with others, and not as well with a third category. A bit more info may be helpful. In my early years, I recognize now that I responded in varying degrees more out of emotion, depending on the circumstances. With experience and maturity, I've leaned more toward less emotional and controlled responses. Once you learn this, you recognize emotional responses instantly in others. (I think more firings occur due to what a person says- resulting in personality conflicts - than technical incompetence.)

About 99% of everyone I have discussed this with, or observed
in others, has relationships with others falling in the same 3 categories. Also, all parties bring their past difficult experiences into the relationship, including me. Example - in some cases, where a prior relationship caused the person to be defensive, I've noted that this can come out when I provide adjusting feedback Often, this pattern reflects some significant deep self-esteem/confidence issues on behalf of the other person, which seems to impact working relationships.
I am looking for an answer that is honest, and where the interviewer will say, 'yep, makes sense, and actually that's really the truth for all of us'. Some thoughts for an answer (I also need a really good 'BLUF'):

a) I get along well with most everyone. And I've been told I'm likable. Part of the reason is that its a mindset - that I go into a relationship, and each discussion, wanting to get along with the person.
b) I've found that for me, relationships fall into three categories ... (as per above). [Because I think this is true for most, I am hoping it the interviewer, or the team members interviewing me, are internally thinking that is true because it applies to them as well. They may also instantly think of the people they do not work as well with, including possibly some other their coworkers right next to them in the interview team]
c) Like with dating or meeting your spouse, with some co-workers the chemstry is really there, and in other cases, its not.
d) But there have been occasions now and then where I didn't work well with some others. [And, taking a cue from the interview series, prepare for the followup Q 'Tell me about. when you didn't.."]
e) So here's what I do when dealing with differences
- seek first to understand the other's point of view (Covey), and reword it back them
- let the small stuff go, and limit disagreements to only really, really big items [I feel there's a rule of no more than 3 per, say, quarter, semiannual period, or something. People really remember differences, so limit them - emotional bank account in effect here).
- Compromise (per MH), and, compromise first where possible.
- But where I really need to, I'll state the key points and where necessary stand my ground. But, I limit those, and first consider a 24-hour rule to internally reconsider (to save the elephant bullets for a future difference). Please forgive the length of this, but the more I provide, the more insight from answers that can be provided.

Bottom line - looking for a way to say that I get along well with most, have had an occasional diff (which I have), try to minimize those where I have, and start with a mindset to work well with others.
Got any really good answers that work? Here's where one of the members or Mark H might have a perfectly-worded answer. It might also be a great podcast, or series (forgive me if it was and I've missed it).
thanks to all responders in advance.

thaGUma's picture

You mentioned Covey. Consider using his win/win (no deal). This goes from character through relationships into agreements.
“I get along well with XXX because of my win/win character. I strive to establish relationships which are mutually beneficial …”

I’ll stop now – but you get the idea.


wendii's picture
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When I originally read your answers, I thought you had an ok start, you just need to play with it to make an answer you can give in an interview. I think your bluf is.. 'There are some people it is easier to work with than others, because we are naturally on the same wavelength. That said, by stepping back and being able to look at the components of a good relationship, I have found I can work well with anyone. The actions I take are: ...".

The question is really stupid - who is going to say... ' I don't get on with anyone and I start a fight by 10am every morning?'.

That said, it did occur to me that you could borrow some of your answer from a teamwork question. Working well in a team is about

*Appreciating & working with other people's strengths and weaknesses
*Appreciating & working with their communication and work styles
*Adapting to them in order to make the team effective
*Being flexible
*Offering to help (whether that's with the work, or just making the tea when they are stressed)
*Focusing on the higher goal rather than any one conversation

I hope that hasn't thrown too much confusion on the issue!


asteriskrntt1's picture

Just to tag on to Wendii's excellent comments, remember, these have to be YOUR excellent words and answers, not Mark's, not Wendii's, not mine.

Strong and clear and your experience.


alwayslearning's picture

Thanks everyone for some very helpful information!