‘How do you handle stress and pressure?’ Now there’s an interview question that may actually put stress and pressure on! It’s important that an interviewer asks this because they do need to know how you will be able to cope with potentially challenging environments. After all, pretty much every job will have its own flavor of obstacles and pressure.
So knowing that it’s almost certain that you’ll get asked this in your upcoming interview, how should you answer? There are a few different routes you could take. If you remember one thing from this article, know that it’s more about how you explain your answer than just simply answering “I handle it well”.
What is the interviewer really looking for?
When they ask you ‘how do you handle stress and pressure?’ what the interviewer really wants to know is what you would do in potentially stressful work situations and the impact that may have on how you perform in the role. They want to see that you know yourself and that you are prepared for there to be some stressful situations in the future.
How not to answer ‘how do you handle stress and pressure?’
Here are the big no-no’s when it comes to answering ‘how do you handle stress and pressure?’
- Of course, don’t say that you cannot handle stress and pressure. You’ve basically taken yourself out of the game if you do this.
- Don’t mention that the stressful situation made you stressed. Instead, talk about being in that energy of pressure and stress, and how you’re able to remain ‘unaffected.’
- Be careful how you respond in terms of the particular role it is. If it’s a multi-tasking role, and you share that you have trouble juggling many tasks and that makes you stressed, you’ll not be seen as a fit candidate for the role.
Interview Question: How Do You Handle Stress and Pressure? (17 Examples!)
Below are 17 examples of different ways that you can answer this interview question. Choose which one seems most suited to your particular experience, personality, and the role that you’re applying for.
Example 1: “Prioritizing my responsibilities and tasks is how I best deal with stress, as I know it could easily get out of hand if I didn’t have a clear plan of action, Knowing what is most important and then working from there helps me to take it one step at a time and stay calm even if the situation is challenging.”
Recommended Course: Productivity Masterclass (Skillshare)
Example 2: “Communication is one of the best ways that I know to manage a stressful and high-pressure environment, as I find that most stress that people feel is due to confusion and not feeling clear about what to do.
Talking things through and being in constant communication about what needs to be done and asking people what they need to get their job done is a way that I’ve previously handled stressful situations in a leadership role, keeping the whole team more calm.”
Example 3: “Actually, when I have the pressure of a deadline, I find that my work is more efficient and even more creative. So I enjoy this kind of pressure, and I don’t generally feel that what might be a stressful situation actually creates any stress within me.”
Example 4: “Personally I manage stress by working out and meditating. I find that if I spend time outside of the work environment focusing on my awareness and creating a calm internal state, I am far more grounded during the day no matter what happens.”
Recommended Course: Flourishing in Stressful Times - with Tara Brach (Udemy)
Example 5: “Being in a dynamic environment that is fast-paced and under deadlines is where I get my best work done, as I feel more inspired by the high energy that is needed for this kind of work.”
Example 6: “One of the most effective ways that I’ve found to deal with a stressful situation at work is to take a step back and see the situation from a more objective viewpoint. It’s far easier for me to then see what needs to be done and stay out of the energy of stress, keeping calm and clear to move onto the next step.”
Example 7: “In my past responsibilities, I couldn’t let stress affect my work, as I had a role that required level-headed energy. I’ve learned that being highly organized is the key to dealing with stress.
I rely on setting a structured schedule and having contingency plans when that isn’t going to work. So I have backup schedules and plans and that keeps me prepared for when things unexpectedly change.”
Example 8: “I believe that the key to managing stress and pressure in work is actually working as a team with others. Whether it’s my co-workers, supervisors, or managers, I know that if we all band together to see what can be done, we come to a solution far more quickly and easier.
So, I really see communication between key people in a company to be the best way to handle stressful situations. Having trust in the team is how I stay calm and collected.”
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Example 9: “Although I do enjoy some stress in any role to keep me motivated with the challenge, I know that there needs to be a balance of healthy stress, and not too much pressure leading to chaos.
I think the best way that I’ve found to keep balanced in the face of impending over-stress from a difficult situation is to look at the facts and to keep an objective, impartial point of view, rather than getting pulled into my personal opinion. When I look at the situation from the outside, I can see far more clearly what needs to be done without getting stressed.”
Example 10: “Having the right tools on hand is the best way that I’ve found to stay grounded even if a situation has some pressure and potential for stress. I rarely feel stressed because I use tools like scheduling calendars, daily task lists, and communication software to always be informed of what’s happening. I also have planning procedures to always have a backup plan if unexpected things happen.”
Example 11: “I’ve actually felt that some of my best work has come from feeling a little pressure. So I don’t feel that it’s a problem for me to have a little stress and pressure in a role, it doesn’t make me feel chaotic or confused, but actually keeps me feeling clear and inspired.”
Example 12: “An example of how I dealt with a stressful situation was when I noticed that my co-worker was having a hard time with all the tasks she needed to get done that day, and it made her frazzled and I could see she was struggling but didn’t want to ask for help.
Instead of watching that and feeling her stress, which would put more stress on me and everyone else, I knew that we had to come together and help each other. So I asked the team what they could do to help take some load off for her and take some of her tasks on. Basically, being attentive to the environment helps me to manage stressful situations.”
Example 13: “Planning is the best tool I can think of to diffuse stress. As long as there is more than one plan to get something done – so always having a backup plan or two – I feel like I never get stressed or overwhelmed. There is always a way to make it work.”
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Example 14: “I find that listening to my co-workers and customers/clients is actually the best way to deal with their stress and my own. In this way, I’m not being overwhelmed with confusion and expectations not being met. Instead, I’m present to what’s happening and I can best solve what needs to be solved in a way that is responding to that I’m listening to, rather than reacting to stress.”
Example 15: “Having a deadline is one of the best ways that I create effective and high-quality work, so I absolutely love an environment that has some pressure. I know how I work best, and I know how to deal with challenges when they come up, so I don’t get affected by stress even in a high-pressure environment.”
Example 16: “I really feel that when we can react to the situation, not the energy of stress, we will never have a problem in environments that have a lot of pressure. Because we can stay more clear and see the bigger picture, rather than get overwhelmed with the energy. So I always think about that – situations, not stress.”
Example 17: “I’m really skilled at handling multiple tasks and projects and love working in this kind of dynamic environment. I just feel like it is a part of my personality to be able to balance what some people may see as a stressful way of working, and feel motivated by multitasking.”
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To learn more, check out my other post on how to answer “describe a stressful situation and how you handled it” to better prepare yourself.