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What Kind of Personality Do You Work Best With and Why?

Culture fit is an important element of a strong hire, so it’s quality interviewers will be probing for during pre-hire conversations. 

Here are some different ways this question might be phrased during an interview:

  • What kind of personality do you work best with?
  • Describe your ideal coworker/team.
  • What kind of people do you enjoy working with?

We’ll share a formula you can use to answer any of these questions and show the hiring manager that you’d be a great fit in their workplace.

Why do interviewers ask what personalities you work best with?

This question isn’t just about the personalities you like to work with. It’s a question about your personality and whether it will mesh well with team members. Culture fit covers your work preferences, communication style, values, and overall compatibility with the existing dynamics of a department or company, all of which can make or break your success as a new hire. 

An interviewer also wants to get a read on how easy you are to get along with. Do you assimilate comfortably among different types of people, or are you more rigid about the types of people you collaborate well with? Adaptability and agreeability are both desirable qualities, so you’ll want to use your answer to convey these traits.  

What interviewers are looking for in an answer about who you work best with

When asking about the personalities you like and work well with, an interviewer will be listening to see whether you name qualities that describe their team. They’ll be particularly interested in defining qualities like communication, teamwork, and work style. 

Additionally, an interviewer wants to feel confident that you’re open to working with different types of people, which is part of success in most jobs. Being able to get along with various personalities will help you become a productive member of the team more seamlessly. If you’re interviewing for a managerial role, it’s a critical quality to be an effective leader. 

How to answer the interview question ‘What kind of personality do you work best with and why?’

Emphasize that you’re versatile

It’s a good idea to open your answer by saying you work well with many different personalities. This shows that you’re flexible, professional, and not prone to workplace conflict. 

Name attributes that the company would value

But don’t stop there. Go into specifics about the traits you value in your coworkers, naming ones you know are also valued by the company. 

Looking at the company’s published mission statement and its social media channels will give you a good idea of what characteristics are important to them. 

Here are some examples of traits you might mention:

  • Enthusiastic
  • Positive
  • Organized
  • Energetic
  • Creative
  • Flexible
  • Empathetic 
  • Kind
  • Caring
  • Ambitious
  • Hardworking
  • Team player
  • Focused
  • Collaborative
  • Communicative

Give concrete reasons why those traits are worthwhile

Finally, explain why these qualities are most important to you with a statement like, “I work best with this personality style because…”  Explain how these traits complement and support your own qualifications–this is a great place to plug your skills and strengths.

How not to answer

Merely say you get along with everyone

While this may be true, you want to name specific traits. Remember, this question is as much about you as it is about your ideal team, so failing to describe a specific personality is a missed opportunity to position yourself as a strong fit for the role. 

Box yourself in

Don’t get too specific or set unrealistic expectations, like saying you work best when people only contact you via email, or you can’t work with someone who’s not as organized as you. 

Sample answers to “What kind of personality do you work best with and why?”

Example #1

“I am open to working with all types of personalities because I understand that our differences can make us more creative as a team. With that said, I work particularly well with people who value collaboration and who can offer and receive feedback. I am a strong team player, which means being comfortable with some give-and-take regarding which ideas we pursue and the direction we follow.”

Example #2

“I’m a very empathetic person, so I value colleagues who share this quality. I think many workplace conflicts can be resolved simply by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and finding shared goals. To me, this is what makes a department run smoothly and achieve its best work.” 

By tailoring your answer to the type of people who are likely to work well in this company’s environment, you’ll convince the hiring manager you’re a strong choice and someone who will have no problem clicking with the team.