How Do You Handle Stress?


This is a very common interview question. You might be tempted to say, “I never get stressed,” but everybody experiences stress from time to time, even the most laid-back among us. Interviewers ask this question to determine how stress impacts you and how you manage it when it occurs.

How to Answer This Question

How well you address the stress question depends upon your ability to choose the right scenario to share. Provide a specific example of a past situation that caused you stress on the job, the ways in which you worked through that stress, and the ways in which that situation helped you improve.

Don’t mention a time when your actions caused needless stress, like procrastination, and avoid saying you get stressed out by situations common to the job. Instead, focus on things like difficult task assignments, juggling multiple priorities, projects that changed scope mid-stream, etc. Showcase the steps you took to rise above these stressors to get the job done.

For bonus points, add additional detail about the ways in which you use stress to motivate you. Past stress could have led to you to become a more creative problem solver, a strong multitasker or a more productive employee.

For example, you might say something like:

I sometimes experience stress when I’m juggling multiple high-priority tasks. For example, at my last job, I was faced with a situation when (insert a specific example). In order to work through it, I looked at each unique task individually. I delegated X task and Y task to capable team members whose unique skill sets were ideal for those pieces of the puzzle. I focused my efforts on Z task. The team members I delegated the work to actually came up with very creative solutions that I wouldn’t have seen on my own. In the end, we completed everything a few days before the deadline. This situation taught me a valuable lesson: Delegation to the right people is essential for meeting and exceeding goals.

Practice answering this question with a friend or your recruiter so you can speak with confidence and poise when the situation arises in an interview. The more confident you are when speaking about stressful situations, the better.

If you are an engineer or technical professional in the Southeast seeking new opportunities, contact the recruiting experts at Selectek today. We can match you with an opportunity that will help you take the next step in your career.