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✅ Tell Me About A Time You Worked With A Difficult Person | Facebook Behavioral Interview (Jedi) Series 🔥

Before we discuss this question, let us recap what the Behavioral Interview Round at Facebook is.

  1. Behavioral Interview Round is also known as the Jedi Interview round at Facebook.

  2. It is about you and your history, your résumé, and your motivation.

  3. The purpose of this interview is to assess whether the candidate will thrive in Facebook's peer-to-peer, minimal process, and unstructured engineering organization.

For Software Engineers, the behavioral interview is actually part behavioral and part coding. The coding part is a shorter version of the usual coding interviews and is included to supplement the other two coding interviews to get an additional coding signal.

Tips & Tricks to effectively prepare for Behavioral Interviews

Tips & Tricks to effectively prepare for Behavioral Interviews

  1. Know yourself! Take the time to review your résumé, as the interviewer will almost certainly ask about key events in your work history.

  2. Have concrete examples or anecdotes to support each of the questions.

  3. Familiarize yourself with Facebook's mission statement and its five core values:

    • Be Bold
    • Focus on Impact
    • Move Fast
    • Be Open
    • Build Social Value
  4. Be yourself! Be open and honest about your successes and failures.

  5. Be humble and focus on teamwork, leadership, and mentorship qualities.

Now, let us review how to effectively answer this question.


Question: Tell Me About A Time You Worked With A Difficult Person

Tell Me About A Time You Worked With A Difficult Person

Video Explanation with Evaluation Criteria, Response Framework, Tips & Tricks, Sample Answer (Example), and a Special Case of "Never worked with a difficult person".

"Tell me about a time you worked with a difficult person" is one of the most frequent questions asked in behavioral interviews. Interviewers sometimes phrase this question as "Tell me about a time you worked with someone challenging".

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria for Tell Me About A Time You Worked With A Difficult Person Evaluation Criteria for Tell Me About A Time You Worked With A Difficult Person

Once in a while, in every workplace, you will face a situation where you have to work with a colleague who has a difficult personality. By asking this question, the interviewer's goal is to assess how you work in difficult situations or unstructured environments.

They are trying to judge your:

  • Maturity level,
  • Communication skills, and
  • Willingness to speak up irrespective of your coworkers' seniority.

They are also evaluating whether you are empathetic and respectful towards your colleagues while understanding your coworker's motivations and viewpoints behind the conflict.

A crucial element to this question is that the interviewer is looking for a positive resolution of the conflict that benefits the company and not just an individual. They are trying to see if you are flexible to compromise and open to learning from challenging experiences.

Response Framework

Response Framework for Tell Me About A Time You Worked With A Difficult Person

Our advice is to pick a compelling and honest story that can articulate an actual situation where you had to work with a colleague who had a difficult personality.

Describe the situation, events that occurred, and explain what led to the conflict between you and your colleague.

  • It can be due to lack of communication and difference of opinions over a project design, code review, or some other disagreement.

Present both sides of the arguments in a positive and empathetic way. This will help you to come across as level-headed and professional. It will demonstrate that you take time to understand other people's perspectives and are not narrow-minded when working with others.

Explain the exact steps you took to address the challenging situation.

  • It can be a one-on-one discussion with your colleague, doing more research, creating an updated plan of action, or pair programming with your coworker to come to a resolution.
  • This will demonstrate your ownership and problem-solving skills.
  • It will give the interviewer an inside look at how well you work in an unstructured environment.

Also, show that you proactively communicated the issue and its resolution to all the stakeholders to keep them well informed.

Express how the outcome was beneficial to the project and the company and not just to you and your coworker. Finally, explain the learnings you took from the conflict and how they helped you to avoid similar disagreements from happening again in the future and to become a better engineer.

Tips & Tricks

Tips and Tricks for Tell Me About A Time You Worked With A Difficult Person

Here are some tips and tricks that will help you effectively prepare this question for the behavioral interview.

  1. Always remain calm and professional.

    • Refrain from being negative and avoid blaming your employer, coworkers, or manager.
    • Companies generally do not like to hire people who are always pointing fingers at others.
  2. Use a compelling story that is honest and believable.

    • Pick an example involving a business issue and avoid personal disputes.
  3. Calmly explain both sides' points of view and show how a complete understanding or a compromise led to a better outcome for the company and not just an individual.

  4. Do not sugarcoat your answer with irrelevant details.

    • Spend more time talking about the resolution than the conflict and mention the learnings that will help you avoid the same disagreements from happening again.
  5. Show that you proactively communicated the issue and its resolution to all the stakeholders to keep them well informed.

  6. Prepare the response for this question beforehand, as it will be tough to structure your answer on the spot during the interview.

  7. Do not memorize the answer as it should come naturally, and you should sound confident to the interviewer.

Sample Answer (Example)

Here is Rachel. She is currently working as a Software Engineer at a major internet company. She is interviewing for the role of Senior Software Engineer at Facebook.

🎧 Listen to her response to this question in this YouTube Video

Special Case: Never Worked With A Difficult Person

Special Case: Never Worked With A Difficult Person

It may be the case that you actually never worked with a difficult person so far in your career. New Grads and entry-level software engineers usually fall under this category.

If you are in such a situation, do not end your answer by simply saying that you never worked with a difficult person in your career.

Instead, provide your interviewer with a hypothetical situation and walk through how you would respond and modify your course of action in such a situation just as you would for a real past experience.

This will help the interviewer evaluate you on the following attributes mentioned earlier:

  • How well you can handle a conflict,
  • Work in ambiguous situations, and
  • You're open-minded and flexible.

Preparation Material

Learn more about the Evaluation Criteria, Response Framework, Tips & Tricks, and Sample Answers (Examples) to effectively prepare and answer these top questions asked in the Behavioral Interviews at Facebook. Certain special cases are also discussed which are usually faced by the candidates during these interviews.

⬇️ Detailed Notes on Top Facebook Behavioral Interview Questions - Part 2


Cracking the Facebook Behavioral Interview

If you have not read our first article on Top Facebook Behavioral Interview Questions, we recommend reading it by clicking the below link:


Cracking the Facebook System Design Interview

In case if you have not read our series on Cracking the Facebook System Design Interview, we recommend reading it by clicking the below link:


Useful Links

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✅ TryExponent.com Membership [💰 Limited Time 10% offer]

👩‍💻 Best System Design Interview Course
🚀 Complete SWE Interview Course [💰 Limited Time 10% offer]
🙋‍♀️ Behavioral Interview Guide [💰 Special Discount]
📚 Recommended Interview Preparation Book (on Amazon)


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Discussion (2)

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rahulkulkarni profile image
Rahul Kulkarni

Thanks for sharing the criteria used by interviewers to evaluate our answers.

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The Interview Sage Author • Edited

@rahulkulkarni Glad you liked the article! Thanks 🙂