Describe a Situation When You Were Able to Defuse an Angry Co-worker/Client/Customer

Nilda Melissa Diaz By Nilda Melissa Diaz, Career Advice Contributor Last Updated: May 25, 2023

With many employees working longer workdays in today’s job force, it has become more of a priority for hiring managers to ensure that the individuals chosen for various positions are truly a good fit for the positions and the company. In efforts to ensure this, the way in which interviews are conducted has changed. Now many hiring managers incorporate different types of interview questions into their process with each applicant.

Female asking questions to job candidate

Behavioral interview questions have grown in popularity among many interviewers- mostly due to the fact that they help to establish a full depiction of the interviewee’s work style. These behavioral questions evoke answers that relay actual experiences that the candidate has gone through- rather than ideal methods the individual feels should be used to handle a situation.

The behavioral interview question, ‘Describe a situation when you were able to defuse an angry co,worker/client/customer,’ is really targeted to understand your problem resolution skills. By recognizing this factor, you can target your answer to completely address this question while highlighting your relevant skills and characteristics. The STAR method is a great way to ensure that you fully and properly answer the question. Check out the proper way to implement this method, as well as a few tips to make sure that you ace this or similar questions during your next interview.

How to Answer the ‘Describe a Situation When You Were Able to Defuse an Angry Co,worker/Client/Customer’ Behavioral Interview Question

1. Keep It Professional

Though you are answering behavioral interview questions, you want to keep your answers focused on your behavior at work. Though you may feel that you may have handled a situation with an angry acquaintance very well during a personal matter, you must keep your attention on the task at hand. The interviewer is trying to gain an understanding of how you will perform certain tasks at work, and it is your job to make this an easy correlation. Therefore it is in your best interest to keep your answer work focused.

2. Express the Skills You Used

It is best to try to highlight your skills, experience and abilities any time that you can during your interview. The beauty of behavioral interview questions is that they naturally highlight your experience. With a question like this, you can also talk up your communication and conflict,resolution skills to help you to stand out among other candidates.

3. Utilize the STAR Method to Detail Your Answer

The STAR method helps you to make sure that you cover all the necessary components of a complete answer. It can be broken down into a few different parts:

  • ST – situation or task that needs to be addressed or resolved
  • A – action steps that you decide to take and why
  • R – results of the action that was taken

If you take the time to fully understand the elements required to answer the question and make sure that you include them in this format, you will be sure to present a clear and concise answer that will look favorable to the hiring manager. It also helps to decrease the need for follow,up questions, which helps you to stay in the driver’s seat during the interview.

4. Be Authentic

An experienced hiring manager can tell when you are lying. Do not try to make yourself look better by adding additional elements to the story. Or, if you have not had direct issues with a client or customer, do not make one up. In this instance a personal example may be necessary, but you should still try to keep your answer as close and relatable as possible to an issue that might be seen on the job.

5. Stay Positive

Though the experience with an angry customer or coworker may not have been very enjoyable, try to keep your depiction of the issue as positive as possible. A great way to do this is to simply stick to the facts when describing the situation and do not add any extra characterizations.

Sample ‘Describe a Situation When You Were Able to Defuse an Angry Co,worker/Client/Customer’ STAR Interview Answer

In my previous position as store manager, there were several times when I had to defuse angry clients. In one instance a client came into the store and demanded that his bill be resolved in store. Unfortunately his billing issue could not be addressed by the agents in store and had to be handled by the billing department, which was located out of state. I expressed this fact to the client and informed him that I could connect him directly over the phone. At first the client was highly upset and did not want to speak with the agent over the phone. I listened to his issue fully and was able to help pinpoint where the issue was coming from; however I had to reiterate that I would not be able to address it and that it would have to be handled over the phone. I assured him that if he spoke with the representative in store, he would have a limited wait time and would be able to get his issue addressed. He agreed and was able to get his problem resolved quickly.