Tell me about a time when you worked with a colleague who was not doing their share of the work. How did you handle it?
Most of us have at one time or another found ourselves doing more than our fair share of work to make up for the less than amazing effort put in by one of our co workers. It’s a common problem in most work environments and that is why the question above is a Common Behavioural Interview Question many employers ask.
In order to prepare a good answer to this question, you need to first consider exactly what this question is NOT about.
- It is not an opportunity to say anything negative about the slacker.
- It is not an opportunity to laugh at how much better you were.
- It is not an opportunity to vent that you didn’t get credit.
In fact, this is purely a question about your ability to problem solve. There are 3 types of problem solvers and the interviewer wants to assure themselves that you can be all 3 types when needed. Many people mistake this question as the employer testing to see if you’re a hard worker. But this question is more about conflict resolution. What did you do to handle it? Did you whine to your boss or did you talk to the employee?
It can be tough to answer this question. A simple answer is the following:
“I mentioned my concerns to our mutual supervisor, but honestly I was perfectly fine helping them with their work. You never know what may be going on in someone’s life, and I didn’t find the extra work overwhelming, so while I did let our supervisor know that I noticed one of my coworkers seemed to be distracted at work, I didn’t push the issue because I was still fully capable of handling their workload and my own.”
This is problem solving. You mentioned your concerns, but you also completed the work yourself. You showed compassion to a coworker, but you didn’t say anything negative about them other than they were “distracted.” It’s a simple answer that works well.
If you did address the issue directly, then share that story. Talk about:
- How you addressed it with the employee
- How they took it
- What were the next steps
Just make sure that you don’t make it sound like you were trying to get the employee in trouble. Be forgiving of your coworker’s problems, and focus solely on trying to be a problem solver, not a problem creator.
Share Your Comment Below:
What have you done when you’ve worked with someone that was slacking off?