How to Answer Interview Questions About Handling Stress

If you haven't experienced numerous interviews, they can be quite anxiety-inducing. Personally, I enjoy attending interviews as I am intrigued by how managers assess and prioritize skills during the selection process.
Regardless of whether you aspire to become an air traffic controller or a gardener, it's likely that you will encounter interview inquiries regarding your stress management abilities. This is a significant aspect in almost any professional environment.
Gallup's most recent State of the Global Workplace survey reveals:

"Worldwide, 44% of employees said they experienced a lot of stress the previous day. This is the second year in a row worker stress reached record levels.
Employee stress rose in 2020, likely due to the pandemic. But employee stress has been rising for over a decade."

What's concerning is that a significant percentage of those surveyed admit to feeling so overwhelmed that they have thoughts of resorting to aggression towards their colleagues.
Understandably, employers are deeply troubled by this state of affairs. During the hiring process, managers might inquire about your ability to handle high workloads and dissatisfied customers. They might even explore the potential impact of your personal life on your behavior.
You’ll probably make a more favorable impression if you think about your answers in advance. Try these tips for talking about stress during a job interview.

Tips for Your Interview

  • Tell storiesFor any interview questions, you can make your responses more memorable and effective by giving specific examples. Consider the STAR Method interview questions. The STAR Method offers a great formula for storytelling when answering interview questions. Develop a collection of stories so you can pick something relevant to each situation.

  • Be positiveSteer clear of any details that might prevent you from being hired. Talk about how you use stress to your advantage by letting it motivate you and open up opportunities for change.
  • Focus on productivity. Remember that your employer is mostly interested in how stress might affect your ability to do your job. Finish your story by describing what you accomplished while under pressure. Speaking about it helps you to elaborate on your productivity at work.
  • Gather informationAs long as you’re already talking about stress, this can be a chance to find out more about what your future work conditions would be like. Ask the hiring manager what they think the major challenges are for their company and the position you’re considering.
  • Share supportYou may score bonus points if you show an interest in helping your coworkers deal with stress too. If you have helped others with managing stress, this will be a good opportunity to talk about it.
  • Look calmIt’s ironic to be discussing stress while an interview is increasing your anxiety levels. Ensure that your body language matches your words. Relax your muscles and resist the urge to fidget.

Tips for Your Work Life

  • Take breaksTo be successful, it’s important to pay attention to what you do each day, as well as what you say during an interview. Start by pausing at least once each hour to keep stress from building up. Stretch your muscles or take deep breaths.

  • Use vacation days. Research shows that going on at least one vacation a year helps protect your mental and physical health. Use your time off to reconnect with your loved ones and explore new places.
  • Avoid excess overtime. Productivity declines dramatically if you frequently work more than 50 hours a week. Prioritize your tasks and limit distractions. Start your day with your quitting time in mind.
  • Limit multitasking. Try to focus on one activity at a time. Otherwise, you risk damaging your brain. Head scans show that switching between tasks for a prolonged period can lower your brain density, in addition to causing fatigue.
  • Set realistic expectationsAre you trying to do too much? Calculate how long your main responsibilities take and budget enough time to complete them without rushing.
  • Stay activeRegular exercise is one of the most constructive ways to relax. Make it part of an overall healthy lifestyle that will keep you strong and resilient.
​It’s helpful for you and your future employer to recognize the impact of job-related stress. Your interview could be a starting point for maintaining a healthy and supportive work environment.
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About the Author

Mandy Fard is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW, CMRW) and Recruiter with decades of experience in assisting job seekers, working directly with employers in multiple industries, and writing proven-effective resumes.
Feel free to connect with Mandy Fard on LinkedIn:
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