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What will you do if your co-worker has been procrastinating, which impact your work?

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Is there a correct answer for this?


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Dhairya’s Answer

Great question. As with most interview questions, there is no right answer. This question is really is more about how you handle challenging situations than your coworker in this imagined scenario. You want to think about focusing on how you would communicate (both with manager and co-worker), be accountable for your work, and handle conflict.

A useful strategy is first ask clarifying questions to the interviewer. Has the co-worker always procrastinated? Is this their first time or is there a pattern of bad behavior? How will the co-worker impact you? Is there an upcoming deadline that you're on the hook for or in general your co-worker is lazy. Once you have a better understanding of the scenario, think about your answer.

One way to think about this is imagining what you would do in that situation. What is reasonable? Do you talk to your co-worker first and figure out what's going on? Do you go straight to the manager? Which is better and why? How will the co-worker's procrastination affect you? Can you ask other co-workers for help? For every choice you make, be able to justify it.

Another way to think about answering this is by putting yourself in the managers shoes. You have two employees working on a important project with a hard deadline coming up. From your point of view as manager, you don't really know much about how the employees are behaving, only if the project is finished and the quality of the project at the deadline. How would you (as manager) react if the project were to be incomplete or poorly executed by the deadline? Could it have been prevented? If so, what would you have expected from the employees (hint, status updates)? What are the qualities you expect in a good employee? If one is struggling or slacking, what you want the other employee to do? Based on that, is there anything you'd do differently as an employee?

That's really helpful!!! Thank you very much Dhairya! C L.

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John’s Answer

This is a maturity question as much as a interpersonal question. There isn't a correct answer but the interviewer will know who you will be working with and a little something about them. If you get this question you should prepare yourself to be working with someone who needs a few extra reminders on deadlines. This will also allow you know pull out the job as not being a good fit for you. If you honestly don't mind giving reminders to a coworker tell them something like "We are a team and if someone needs reminders that's okay. I don't mind." However if you are the type of person who can't stand "Baby Sitting" adults you might want to run for the hills. In that case the correct answer for you maybe "I pride myself in accomplishing everything one time and expect my coworkers to do the say."

If of course you're asking this because you were never told about your coworker you now have that needs to be reminded on every assignment of the timeline. I would suggest an upfront discussion between you and your coworker. Something like, "Bob, I love working with you but it seems like your always going to the last minute to finish up projects. This leaves me scrambling to get my part of the project done. Your procrastination is making things difficult." Then if you can give one or two example that honestly occurred, with explanations on how they affected you. If you can't bring it up to them, you will never fix the problem.

Hi John, thank you so much for your detailed response! I really appreciate that! C L.

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Karen’s Answer

Hello! Questions like these are behavioral interview questions, in which a hiring manager tries to get a sense of your interpersonal and communication skills to see how you work with and resolve conflict. Answer in terms of how you would approach the situation. Would you try to talk to your co-worker first? Would you tactfully suggest that working together will save you both time? Would you involve the boss and when? Do you have an example of a time you solved a similar problem? The more you can demonstrate diplomacy and tact, the more impressed a hiring manager will be. Think of how you'd approach speaking to a good friend or close family member to solve an issue. What processes can you apply from that to the situation of the procrastinating co-worker?

Karen recommends the following next steps:

Rehearse the scenario and practice answering it to a person you trust. Write down feedback to refine your answer and keep practicing.
Research the top interview questions on Google and read advice in how to answer, then practice again.

Karen - Thank you for your answer. We need more advice like this, now more than ever! There are more than 1k unanswered questions on CV right now. Hoping you'll answer a few more this week! Jordan Rivera COACH

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Dawn’s Answer

s this something that is a regular occurrence? Are they normally fine, but it's just recent? Have a conversation with them. There could be things that are impacting their ability to get you the things they need. Don't assume, but rather try to gather the things that are keeping them from getting the work done. One of my favorite phrases is, "Can you help me understand..." This is a great, non-confrontational way to get information. Good luck!