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First, I provide you with the “pat answer.” Then I give you the real one.

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I thought I would give you one of those tough interview questions that is designed to have you hang yourself. The question is, "what would you do if you worked with a team of people who annoyed you?"
Now, the correct answer is, "I do my job. I put my head down, I do the work."
Now, I don't want you to give that answer, because that's so factory worker oriented. By that, I don't care where you work. I don't care what situation you're in. Professionally, it's not the right answer to say, "I'd shut up and do my job." That's because the reality is, you wouldn't be able to do your job at your best because you're constantly distracted.
Now, here's an answer, I'd rather that you give. "You know, I know the temptation is to say, 'I would keep my head down and do my job.' However, the reality will be very different. What I would attempt to do is figure out what is it in the behavior that's annoying me and why is it that I'm annoyed by it because there are a lot of things that people do that can be annoying that I'm not bothered by.
So, the first thing I'd do is find out what it is or figure out what it is in the behavior that's annoying, and why it's annoying. Maybe they're too loud (I'm just throwing out examples); maybe they are excluding me from stuff. Whatever it is, I'd try and figure it out first.
Then, from there, I will go to you and then, from there, I'd attempt to sort it out with you that I'm feeling frustrated, because that's often what happens. I'm feeling frustrated because the behavior in the group is annoying me. They’re doing this; they're doing that. They were here first, and you certainly like them, and are keeping them. So, I'm trying to understand what's going on, since I'm feeling frustrated and annoyed by it. So that's step two.
Step three is if there wasn't an adequate resolution, which could involve a transfer to another group, or a behavioral change in the group or myself, I'd probably leave because the last thing I want to do is tolerate something that's, for me, intolerable. I'm sure if you were in my shoes and thought about it effectively, you'd feel the same way.
You'd try and resolve the issue internally, talk with the other people, talk with yourself, sort it out go to your manager and such. But, at the end of the day, why tolerate stuff that, for you, is intolerable. So that's the way I would approach it. I think it's a more realistic one. Given our times, you know, 25 years ago, no one would say that they don't give the I would put my head down and I would work hard answer. But that's not true. We know that. So better to be honest, than to lie to them.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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