What Kind of Person Will You Refuse to Work With?

Job Interview Question & Answer: Is There Anybody You’d Prefer Not to Work With?

Why Employers Ask This Question

Company culture and interpersonal skills matter when it comes to compatibility with workers, managers, and clients. An interview question like, “What kind of person do you refuse to work with?” is a bit of a trick. While everybody has personality clashes, employers want individuals who will get along with everybody and overcome conflicts.

How to Answer Carefully

Though this question may come off as negative, it’s best to give a positive response. You still want to be honest, so talk about the kinds of traits you find admirable first. Then, briefly mention why the opposite of those good traits would be undesirable in the workplace. Express your willingness to work with all kinds of people regardless of your differences.

What Not to Say

Although employers appreciate honest applicants, you should not be too blunt. Listing all the negative characteristics of people you feel you can’t work with raises red flags. Don’t outright refuse to cooperate with anyone. This excludes those involved in violent or illegal activity, but try to refrain from mentioning that if you can take a more positive approach.

Tips for Answering “What Kind of Person Would You Rather Not Work With?”

During an interview, a manager might ask you a question like, “Is there anybody you can’t work with?” Employers like hiring individuals who work well with others, so the goal is to illustrate how you can do that. Here are a few tips to help you answer:

  • Focus only on the people you disagree with on a professional level to avoid getting too personal with your response.
  • Frame your answer around what you like to see in coworkers, implying the traits you dislike instead of focusing on them.
  • Emphasize how working with adverse personalities can be a learning opportunity that opens up new points of view.
  • Treat the concept of conflict as something that you can overcome through teamwork and communication.

Sample Responses to “What Type of People Are You Unable to Work With?”

It’s best to have an answer ready for hard-hitting questions like, “What kind of person do you refuse to work with?” Here are a few sample replies to help you navigate the discussion:

Sample Answer 1 – Team Member at a Fast-Food Restaurant

“I prefer coworkers who can get along well with one another and become good friends, but also know how to stay on-task. I’ve met some people who spend more time socializing than working. They get distracted and don’t always get the job done on time or accurately. When I meet people like this, I’m always very friendly but careful to make sure I maintain my focus.”

Sample Answer 2 – Stylist at a Hair Salon

“People who are negative and come off as rude are frustrating. I don’t let this get to me, though, because I’d rather be nice to them in hopes that it could encourage them to be more positive themselves. As long as it doesn’t interfere with the work or bother clients, I know they still have something to offer to the team, and I’ll always try to be their friend.”

Tying It Back to The Job

When answering a job interview question like, “What kind of person do you refuse to work with?” try relating your response to the company. For instance, give the interviewer an example of how you handled a challenging personality to ensure the business continues to move smoothly. By tailoring your response to the field, employers might recognize you as a good fit for the position.

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