What Annoys You?

Job Interview Question & Answer: What Irritates You About Other People and How Do You Deal With It?

What This Question Tells an Employer

If an interviewer asks, “How do you deal with frustrating people?” they’re probably trying to get a sense of how you get along with others in your workplace. If you’re applying to a position that includes a customer service element, this can also provide some insight into how you’ll interact with clients. A clear answer helps supervisors determine how you might fit into the team.

How You Should Address It

The key to this question is to take a negative topic and turn it around with a positive response. Everyone encounters irritating people, but employers like to see optimistic, easygoing individuals who can work past those differences. Keep the focus on how you adapt and overcome challenging situations.

What Not to Talk About

You don’t want to come off as high-maintenance to hiring managers, so avoid complaining about past coworkers or supervisors. Fight the urge to rant or vent so that you don’t focus on the negative aspect of the question. Instead, stick to talking about the effective ways you managed that frustration while on the job.

Tips for Answering “What Bothers You About Other People and How Do You Manage It?”

While talking about what you find irritating, you should use the time to showcase your ability to work as part of a team. Here are some tips to help you focus on positive responses that show employers that you are an asset:

  • Generalize your responses: When discussing bothersome situations or colleagues, give a generalized answer without being too vague. By not getting into the details, you can avoid focusing too much on the faults of others.
  • Acknowledge the power of diversity: Everybody has habits or behaviors that you may or may not like. If you recognize this as diversity, you can say that these differences lead to individual talents and strengths, making the workplace better as a whole.
  • Choose your words carefully: Use descriptors that emphasize unique, positive characteristics rather than harsh, unfavorable labels.
  • Focus on job-specific topics: Rather than discussing pet peeves, mention habits that pertain to the job itself. This angle helps to highlight your strengths rather than weaknesses in others.

Sample Responses to “What Irritates You About Other People and How Do You Deal With It?”

As you consider how to manage this question, keep in mind that your answer should be natural, concise, and positive. Check out these sample responses to help you figure out what to say if an interviewer asks how you handle irritating people:

Sample Answer 1 – Clerk at a Grocery Store

“It takes a lot to bother me because I’m pretty adaptable and tend to get along with just about everyone. Sometimes, a coworker might have a different way of doing things than I do, and I have to respect that. If the customer is happy, who am I to argue with the results? Plus, these situations help me learn new ways to approach things.”

Sample Answer 2 – Sales Associate at an Auto Parts Shop

“It frustrates me when people don’t know what they’re talking about, but they still try to tell me how to do my job. So, I let them finish speaking to show them I am willing to listen. Then, I try to be direct by telling them exactly what I know and why I’m doing it. That way, we have a clear and open line of communication.

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