It’s something all of us run into at one time or another.
Some of us prefer to confront these individuals head on. That can work. It can also escalate things into a far worse situation than anyone bargained for.
Some of us prefer to just “look the other way.” No effort is made to cool off the angry co-worker or customer, the hope is someone else will handle it.
It’s probably a good subject to bring up with your applicant. It could go like this:
“Alan, if your co-worker all of a sudden got very angry and it was clear this anger was having a bad effect on other employees, what would you do?”
After Alan tells you what he might do, ask him if his approach would be any different with an angry customer. And if so, how so?
You could go one interesting step further here and actually drill an example or two.
“Alan, I’m going to play the role of an angry co-worker (or customer) and I would like to see how you’ll respond.”
You dig a little into your early acting days, summon up a bit of anger, and you have it with your applicant.
If you go this route, do your best to make it “real” anger.
You could try a few different situations.
With a customer, you could be angry about a product or service that was recently purchased.
You could be angry with the company overall because of something you read in the local papers.
You could even be angry with the applicant directly because you thought he did not treat you well.
As you can see, there’s a number of ways to approach this subject with your applicants. Whatever approach you use, you’re more than likely to gain an insight or two into your applicant.