EP 2013 This is a question that might be asked of a person at a staff level to see if they are dumb enough to go negative. Here’s the best way to answer.

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The question, I want to address today that I think there's a stupid one but I'll get into why firms ask it in a moment. The question is, "What are your coworker pet peeves?" What they're trying to flush out is the imbecile who's just going to go off on a tirade and say petty kinds of things and the interviewer will sit there and nod and go, "you'll never work here. Not in a million years."
So, you're not going to be asked this question if you're at a VP level. You're not going to be asked this question at a Director level. It's for staff people, for younger individuals, who sometimes don't have the savvy to know how to address this.
Now, the typical answer is to say something along the lines of, "You know, I've got a great team of people that I work with. And the only things that come to mind is really when people try and take shortcuts that can come back to bite us later. And they don't tell us anything along those lines. So, often, we have to clean things up because someone took the easy way so they could get home that day." That's as typical an answer as you can give and it's not a bad answer if you're talking about a large institution.
But imagine you're interviewing with a startup. Now, the idea of taking a shortcut may not necessarily be a bad thing at a startup organization. So, if you're interviewing for the startup, the answer has to be a little bit different. Again, you can talk about taking shortcuts. But it's the renegade approach that bothers you. So let me give you an example.
"You know, it's not that I have an issue with an individual taking a shortcut. Int's they don't ask for input when we're doing it. The result is when things blow up, you know, we have to clean it up, when we could have talked it through then, from there, come up with as good a solution as we possibly could, that wouldn't take a lot of time so that, in this way, we could push the product out the door."
Notice the difference? Large institutions, just a blanket statement about taking shortcuts, versus in the startup environment "we're being fast and efficient and that is important."
You talk about, giving us a sense of what we're thinking of, so we can contribute to the decision making and then, from there, if that's the best approach, by all means, do it.

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

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

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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