Stressful Situations – How Do You Handle Them?
If I got asked about how I deal with stressful situations, the first thing that would pop into my head is, “You mean like this one?”
When you do walk into the reception room (which should be about 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time), remember to be nice to everyone who greets you. It’s likely that he or she will be reporting back to the hiring manager about how you behave.
You don’t want to use these few moments to over-prepare or rehearse responses. Trust that you know what you know, and that the interview will take on a course of its own.
Remember to remain calm and breathe. Sit in a power pose while waiting to go in for your job interview. You will come across looking more confident and poised.
My philosophy is ‘never let them see you sweat.’
This ‘stressful situations’ question is a legitimate job interview question. Who doesn’t have stress? Every job is going to have some time when you are going to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. They’d like to know that you are going to react in a calm, rational fashion instead of erupting into a temper tantrum, screaming, hiding, or something else that would either alienate your co-workers or be otherwise unproductive. Stress management is a valuable skill.
‘How do you deal with stressful situations’ is a more generalized version of ‘Tell me about a time you found yourself in a stressful situation and how you resolved it.’ Both are behavioral interview questions.
“What has been the most stressful situation you have ever found yourself in at work? How did you handle it?” Is a more generalized version of “What have you done in the past to prevent a situation from becoming too stressful for you or your colleagues to handle?” Both are behavioral interview questions.
If you get the ‘Tell me about a time…” version, you should have a story to tell. I always recommend using the STAR method (Situation or Task, Action, Result) to answer it—it keeps you from rambling off topic and makes sure you hit the most critical aspects of the story.
If you get the more generalized question about dealing with stressful situations, you have a little more flexibility to talk about your overall approach to handling stress, but always keep in mind that you’re talking about work. Keep it professional and always bring it back to the story and the accomplishment.