Dealing with the Dreaded “Stress” Question in Interviews

Regardless of what position you are targeting and what professional level you are at, you’ll probably run into interview questions about how you handle stress.

Why? Because it’s an important issue for just about any company and work environment.

Almost 60% of U.S. workers report feeling stressed on a daily basis, according to Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace survey.

An alarming 14% say it’s gotten so bad they want to confront their coworkers in a physical way. Naturally, any employer would be concerned about this potential negative behavior.

You may get asked questions about juggling demanding work responsibilities, difficult coworkers and unpredictable clients.

They may want to gauge what’s going on in your personal life and how that could affect your behavior at work.

Who knows the reasons, but you can more than likely expect to be asked about how you handle stress.

Here are a few strategies that can help you make a more favorable impression.

1. Tell stories.

Make your responses more memorable by giving specific examples of how you have dealt with stress in the past and what behaviors, techniques and tactics work best for you.

Develop a collection of stories so you can pick something relevant to each situation.

2. Be positive.

Steer clear of any details that might prevent you from being hired – don’t give examples that paint you in a negative light.

Even for situations where you felt you didn’t handle stress well, share what you learned for the experience.

Talk about how you use stress to your advantage by letting it motivate you and open up opportunities for change.

3. Focus on productivity.

Remember that your employer is mostly interested in how stress might affect your work performance and overall ability to do your job. Finish your story by describing what you accomplished while under pressure.

4. Gather information.

If the interviewer opens up the dialogue about stress, this is your chance to find out how “stressful” your future work could be – ask the interviewer about major company challenges, upcoming initiatives and potential stressors.

5. Look calm.

Ok, this is ironic and even humorous. But remember that discussing stress during an interview can likely increase your anxiety levels and STRESS.

Pay attention to your body language, relax your muscles and resist the urge to fidget:)

How do you handle questions about stress during interviews?