What really makes you lose your rag?

  | James Innes

What really makes you lose your rag?

Alternative and related questions:

What causes you to lose your temper?
What really makes you angry?
Do you ever lose your cool?

The meaning behind the question:

The gloves are off. This is a very direct and potentially very challenging question. The interviewer will know that they are immediately putting you under pressure with such a question. And that’s very appropriate – because this question is all about pressure, what causes you to feel under pressure and how you react under excessive levels of stress and pressure. Your answer could tell the interviewer a lot about yourself.

Your answer:

This is one question where it would definitely be best not to give a specific example! The interviewer will not be impressed by hearing about the time you stubbed your cigarette out in your manager’s coffee cup before telling them precisely where they could stick their job! Regardless of how volatile your character is, you need to convey an impression of a calm, level-headed individual – and one who remains as such even when the going gets tough. Everybody loses their rag sometimes – including the interviewer sitting opposite you – but it would be a fatal mistake for you to disclose too much about yourself with your answer.


I recognise that losing my temper is very unlikely to achieve anything – in fact getting angry is generally very counterproductive. While the behaviour of others can of course sometimes cause me to feel frustrated or even annoyed, I always focus on remaining calm and finding solutions to the problem at hand. I try to channel any negative feelings into my work because that’s normally the best way of resolving the issue. Stress and pressure are a fact of life and losing your rag won’t fix anything.

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