Why Interviewers Use the Common Question
What the Question Really Tells an Employer
While the interview process tends to focus mainly on the relevant skills and work experiences of job seekers, employers also care about fit. More specifically, the interviewer wants to see how well the potential employee might fit in with the current workers of the company. As a result, employers frequently want to know, “What irritates you about other people and how do you deal with it?” when interviewing prospective associates. The potentially tricky interview question sheds light on the ways in which candidates interact and get along with others. Employers use responses to the question to determine whether interviewees prove potentially easy or difficult to work with if hired.
How to Respond
Coming up with a positive answer represents the best way to respond to the common interview question. Even though everyone encounters irritating people from time to time, job seekers should refrain from casting others in unfavorable light during interviews. Rather than risk coming across as negative or high-maintenance by dwelling on the irritating qualities of others, interviewees should strive for projecting an optimistic, easygoing aura to put the concerns of the employer at ease. The ideal response should focus less on discussing specific irritants and more on emphasizing a knack for adapting and acclimating to the unique quirks of other people. Most importantly, the answer needs to convey an ability to prevent negative feelings from having a detrimental impact on work performance.
A good response to interview questions about the annoying habits of others might go something like, “It takes a lot to really bother me because I’m pretty adaptable and tend to get along with just about everyone.” Note how the response remains brief and positive while drawing attention to personal qualities like an adaptable nature and an ability to work well with others, thus addressing the underlying concerns that inspire employers to ask the question in the first place.