How To Answer “How Do You Handle Stress?” In A Job Interview

Recruitment managers ask interview questions about all sorts of things – your background, your experience, your successes, your failures and all sorts of everyday problems. One of the things they may want to know is how you deal with stress or pressure at work.


Most jobs have elements of stress or pressure, and the way you behave in response to that pressure greatly affects how you perform and how you affect the work environment for others. Here are three sample questions and answers you can consider before your next job interview:

1. How do you deal with stress and pressure at work?

This question is quite simple. You may be tempted to say, “I’m dealing with this just fine,” or “It motivates me to work harder.” Although these may seem like good answers, you’ll be better off if you can give them a little more insight into you and the way you think. For example, a more effective way to respond could be to say, “I learned in times of stress, it’s very important to prioritize my tasks so I can continue to be productive,” and then give an example using the STAR or “experience + learn = grow” technique.

However you have learned to deal with stressful situations, it’s nice to follow your reaction with an example of how you put this approach to the test. Your example will include the steps you have taken to think about what needs to be done and decide on priorities.

2. Describe a period when your workload was heavy and how you coped with it.

This question basically asks the same thing as the direct and simple question above, but asks for a specific story. Do not just say that you shy away and stay until the end of the job. While it does show you who finishes work no matter what, you will make yourself stand out more if you choose an example that will guide them on how to approach and solve problems.

Highlight your critical thinking skills. Usually it will touch on how you had to look at the situation critically and prioritize what needs to be done immediately and what can wait (or what can be delegated). Tell them why you chose what you chose and what the results were.

3. Describe a period when your work was criticized and how you handled it.

A person answers a question during a job interview

Isn’t it always a little stressful when our work gets criticized? No one is perfect, so chances are you have criticized your work in the past (and will do so in the future). To get better at anything, you must be open to constructive criticism and willing to learn from it. Learning and improving are what will make you more valuable as you grow in your career.

Tell the recruiting manager about a situation that is desirable far in your past and is not directly related to important tasks of the job to which you are being interviewed. (An accountant may not want to talk about how you miscalculated a budget forecast because of a math problem – but telling a story about what you learned from a difficult situation with a project team member who made you a much better communicator would be great). The situation they criticized, the action they took to study or correct the situation, and the end result (STAR ​​technique). Your goal is to show how you have improved and become a better professional because of it.

Before your next job interview, practice answering the above questions about how you deal with stress. Thus, you will be more willing to respond with a response that will surely chart recruiters and will make you stand out from the competition.

Need more in-depth interview answers? Download the free Career Confidential eBook, How to answer interview questions – 50 difficult questions answered, To learn the best strategies and answers for your next interview.

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This article was originally published earlier.

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