When the interviewer asks “When Was The Last Time You Were Angry? What Happened?” he or she wants to know if you lose control. The real meaning of the word “angry”, to an interviewer, is loss of control and it’s important to know how you handle situations when you’re angry.
This question has an obvious snare that you must avoid at all costs. It is trying to ascertain whether you are the type of person who can remain calm when facing a difficult situation. If you answer the “what happened” part of this question along the lines of “so I threw the computer against the wall”, or “well, he didn’t say it again, although to be honest, I made sure he couldn’t say anything, at least until his jaw healed”, you can be assured that you will be trawling through job advertisements for a little longer. The “trap” is to show how you came apart under pressure because of an inability to deal with a problem effectively. This will not be a desired character trait for 99.99% of employers.
However, this question can be used to make you look completely in control of your emotions with a solid grasp on managing difficult situations. You should also keep your answer relevant to the job.
I don’t know if I would consider it angry as such, probably more disappointed. I was working as the on site manager of four diesel engines used to power some heavy, industrial machinery. Part of my job was to take charge of a 6 man team that ensured all maintenance and repairs were carried out on the engines to ensure maximum efficiency at the site. However, on one day an experienced member of my staff disregarded the laid down procedures for maintenance and subsequently made a mistake which led to the stalling of all four engines. This brought the plant to a halt and I immediately had my supervisor on the phone to determine the cause. Of course this led to increased levels of stress and I headed out to find the cause. On speaking to my team leader it was brought to my attention what had happened. It was obvious that 2 of the engines were written off but the other two could be made ready to provide 75% plant efficiency. I sent 5 of the team off to carry out my instructions and called the culprit to my office. I asked him to explain what had happened and he admitted fault. After careful consideration, I opted to give the employee an official warning due to some doubt as to whether the incident could have been accidental. The individual concerned was then told he would be creating the procedures to ensure this could never happen again. Up until I left the site, to his credit, there have been no further incidents.
This answer will show your interviewer that you dealt with an incredibly stressful scenario with thought and consideration. You have demonstrated that despite how angry you might have been feeling on the inside, you were able to appear nothing short of professional and could consider the situation in a constructive way.
Anger to me means loss of control. I do not lose control. When I get stressed, I step back, take a deep breath, thoughtfully think through the situation and then begin to formulate a plan of action.