Almost 80% of employees report feeling stressed on the job, and almost half say they need help to learn how to deal with it. For freshers, the pressure and stress of starting and performing in a new job can be overwhelming. This is why, how do you handle stress and pressure for freshers is a common interview question.
Unfortunately, this question can trip up even the most experienced job seeker. You may not even realize it, but how you answer this question could mean the difference between getting the job and not.
Handling stress and pressure well is essential in any profession, especially in high-pressure jobs like sales, marketing, law enforcement, or healthcare.
So, what can you do to prepare for this question? And more importantly, how can you answer it convincingly?
Read on for tips on answering the question like a pro in an interview setting and some sample answers to try your hand at the interview successfully.
It will give you some ideas. These examples will help you think on your feet and develop an answer that works for you.
We will cover this in the following steps:
Similar Questions to “How do you handle Stress and Pressure”
Let us take a quick look at the number of ways that this question can come across you in an interview!
1. How do you handle stress?
2. What’s the most stressful situation you’ve faced at work?
3. Do you work well under pressure?
4. Tell me about a time when you were overwhelmed at work. How did you handle it?
5. Describe a stressful situation and how you handled it.
6. Is stress ever a good thing? How so?
7. What was the most challenging situation for you? How did you deal with it?
In all of these questions, the interviewer wants to know more about you as a person and your response to stress or pressure.
Why do interviewers ask about working under stress and pressure?
It will be surprising to know that 25% of employees view their jobs as the number one stress creator in their lives. 40% employees feel that their job is very or extremely stressful!
This is why interviewers ask about working under stress and pressure because they want to know how you handle difficult situations.
1. The interviewer wants to know if you can stay calm and professional under pressure. They also want to see if you can think clearly and make good decisions when things are chaotic.
2. The interviewer wants to see if you are a good fit for the company culture. For example, the company may be in a high-pressure environment, and they want to make sure that you will handle the demands of the job.
3. The hiring manager may also be wondering whether stressful issues outside of work tend to manifest themselves in your career. For example, if you have a lot of personal situations going on in your life, they will likely start to show up at work in the form of missed deadlines, decreased productivity, or arguments with coworkers.
4. In general, interviewers are looking for red flags that indicate that you might not be a good fit for the job. And one of the biggest red flags is if someone has a history of difficulty handling stress and pressure. So interviewers will often ask this question to get a sense of handling difficult situations.
How to answer – “How do you handle Stress?”
The best way to answer this question is by discussing the skills and experiences you have that will demonstrate the interviewer that you can handle pressure.
When speaking with a potential employer, it’s critical to include details about how you handled the pressure and rose to the occasion while completing specific tasks.
For example, you could discuss how you can stay calm under pressure, how you can stay organized and focused when there is a lot of noise and chaos around you, or how you can think on your feet in difficult situations. You can even explain how pressure can make you a better worker because it forces you to focus and stay on task.
You could also discuss any past experiences where you had had to work under pressure, such as during a deadline or when there was a lot of uncertainty around you. By discussing your skills and experiences, the interviewer will see what it takes to handle pressure.
8 Step Framework to handle interview question related to Stress and Pressure
1. Take a look into your Strengths and Weaknesses
First, you want to think about the situation in your professional and personal life which put you under immense stress, pressure, and overwhelm! These situations allow you to look into what worked for you and what did not.
You can take some guidance about this from the article on – “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
This will also lead you to find the sources of your stress and pressure. It will remind you of the situations when you dealt with them.
2. Identify the tools or strategies which helped you under pressure
We have written a whole section about what to do when feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and under pressure!
It will help you understand what has worked for you in the past and what can work for you in the future when you are under constant professional or personal matters of stress and uncertainty.
Different people have different approaches to stress. A few of them that you may have taken are:
a. Keeping a strong and positive mindset guided with enabling questions.
b. Getting motivated by the stress itself!
c. Practicing acceptance and other powerful mental models
d. Exercising, yoga, and various meditation practices to bring calmness and relaxation
e. Healthy food, deep sleep, and other methods that increase your willpower
f. Practicing proven time management strategies
g. Counselling sessions from professional coaches
h. Practicing concentration and focus by removing distractions
Remember, when you’re under pressure, you can’t afford to waste time or energy on distractions. You have to stay focused and stay in the game. And that’s why pressure can be a good thing. It can help you stay sharp and focused when everything else is trying to pull you down.
3. Assure the interviewer that you can effectively deal with stress
One of the most important things an interviewer looks for is assurance that you can handle pressure. This is especially important in roles where you work under tight deadlines or with critical clients.
You can do a few things to assure the interviewer that you can handle pressure. First, give specific examples of times when you have successfully handled challenging situations.
Second, talk about your time management and problem-solving skills, and explain how you routinely stay calm under pressure.
Talk about the tools and strategies to handle pressure and stress that you have identified in the 2nd step of this framework.
Finally, emphasize your willingness to work hard and take on additional responsibility when needed.
By emphasizing your ability to handle pressure, you show the interviewer that you can meet the demands of the role.
4. Be honest and show a healthy attitude towards challenges
It’s okay if you have been under stress. Just remember to be honest and remain cheerful while discussing it.
There’s so much pressure to be perfect, especially in today’s society. But the truth is, we’re all human, and we all have areas of improvement. So the most important thing is, to be honest with yourself and others and stay positive even when challenged.
If you struggle under pressure, that’s okay. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times. Just remember to take a deep breath, stay positive, and keep moving forward with your response.
It is important to sound genuine, rather than salsy.
5. Follow it up with an example of when you handled stress and pressure effectively
Giving an example of when you successfully handled pressure is essential because it proves that you can handle difficult situations.
When it comes to job interviews, potential employers want to know that you have the skills and experience necessary to handle whatever may come your way. By sharing an example of a time when you were under pressure and managed to succeed, you demonstrate that you have what it takes to thrive in high-stress environments.
Generally, any pressure or overwhelm is caused by the sheer breadth of activities an individual may need to handle. So, it is wise to show how you can manage multiple tasks or responsibilities at the same time.
The modern workplace is often fast, filled with challenging situations and stressful deadlines. If you can’t handle pressure, then you’re likely to struggle in today’s competitive environment.
Quick Tip: Use the STAR Method. Here you describe the Situation first. Then explain the Task at hand. Explain the Actions you took in the context of the situation and the task. Finally, talk about the Result or the outcome. This is a powerful structure to respond to most behavioral interview question.
6. Focus on your learnings and growth story
Interviewers are impressed by the candidates who use challenges and adversities to lean and grow. Such people convert their roadblocks into smilestones!
Here are a few things that show your focus on learning and growth
a. Talking about the experience around the desired outcome
b. Being honest and getting to the depth of the challenge
c. Explaining how you improved your approach iteratively while facing the stressors
d. Mentioning the tools, techniques, and strategies you used with the reasons behind them
Such details give the interviewers deep insights into how you deal with stressful and challenging situations and use them as learning/growth opportunities.
7. Keep an encouraging and positive vibe
Ending your response to this question on an affirmative note is central to leaving a positive impression on the interviewer. It also allows you to reiterate your interest in the role and showcases your enthusiasm for the opportunity.
In addition, ending on a positive note allows you to wrap up any loose ends and reinforces the idea that you’re a strong candidate willing to go above and beyond. Lastly, it leaves the interviewer with a good feeling about you – something that may come in handy if there are future opportunities at this company.
Your body language, choice of words, and eye contact will add up to the vibe you create while answering this tough interview question. Choose and use them wisely!
8. Expect a few follow up questions
If you have followed all the 7 steps before this, you have created a fairly strong impression on the interviewers.
Now, first of all, they want to ascertain that whatever you are telling them is true. Most of them have experienced several candidates making up stories to answer this question.
Interviewers may also want to dig deeper for more insights about the situation or your approach where they have a chance to access both of these.
So they will generally say things like,
“Tell me more about … “
“Why did you do … ”
“Why was it so challenging?”
“How did it happen?”
“Why didn’t you do … ”
(FIll in the blanks where you see the 3 dots.)
Following this framework will keep you in control of how you drive the dialogue further.
5 Sample Answers for “How do you work under Stress and Pressure?”
“I can assure you that I am capable of handling pressure. I have a track record of meeting deadlines and succeeding in high-stakes situations in my studies. I was often put in charge of difficult projects that had tight timelines. I thrive under pressure and always work to deliver results.
(now share an example using the STAR method. And after that …)
If you’re looking for someone who can handle stress and stay calm under pressure, then I would be the perfect candidate for the job. I have a history of success under challenging conditions, and I’m confident that I can do quality work for your company as well. ”
“I’ve learned to embrace stress in a healthy, productive way. The first step is recognizing when I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Once I become aware of it, I’ll address the issue. I’ll take a break for a few minutes or talk to my supervisor about handling the pressure.
Another trick is to try to stay organized by keeping a planner and writing down everything that needs to be done each day. This can help reduce the amount of stress I feel and get the work done on time.” (After this share 1 or 2 examples of real life instances.)
“I actually like to work under stressful or difficult conditions. I find that it helps me focus and get the job done quicker.
(Now share your example. Then … )
However, I make sure to take some time for myself every day to relax and unwind so that I don’t get too stressed out. I know that may not be the case for everyone, but the adrenaline rush is energizing for me. That said, I do try to schedule some time for relaxation and stress relief every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.”
“I can deal with stress and pressure by focusing on the job and responsibilities at hand. Breaking the task down into manageable chunks makes it easier to focus on what needs to be done without feeling overwhelmed.
I also find that taking regular breaks helps to clear my head and recharge my batteries. Finally, and most importantly, I don’t take things too personally – everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and it’s important not to beat yourself up over them.
For example, my manager recently went off sick, and my department head needed a voiceover for an upcoming project. By communicating with him early on, I was able to take on some of the tasks that he would have assigned to my colleague and helped to lighten his load.”
“I found it hard to deal with pressure and stress back in college. I would usually get overwhelmed and feel like I couldn’t do anything right. However, it’s now manageable for me after learning some coping mechanisms. Some tips that have helped me are:
a. Taking a few deep breaths and focusing on my breathing. This helps to calm and center me.
b. Reminding myself that things aren’t always perfect and that making mistakes is okay.
c. Putting things into perspective- thinking about the worst possible outcome and how likely that is to happen.
d. Taking a break if I need one- even if it’s just 5 minutes to step outside.“
MUST READ: 22 Powerful Carefully Crafted Samples of “How do you handle Stress and Pressure Best Answer”
6 Mistakes to avoid while answering this interview question
1. Don’t say you never get stressed
Everyone gets stressed at some point, so it’s best not to pretend like you’re superhuman.
It is best, to be honest about it. Otherwise, you may just turn off the interviewer. You don’t want to sound suspicious or fake.
2. Not tailoring your answer for the job
When it comes to stress and pressure in work, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not tailoring your response to the job requirements and responsibilities.
In addition, different positions come with varying levels and angles of stress and pressure. So it’s essential to be mindful of what you’re going to get into and how you’ll need to manage your time and resources to be successful.
This will help you carefully choose those situations and experiences that naturally align with the challenges of the job you are interviewing for.
3. Don’t be too honest
It’s essential, to be honest with oneself, but it’s also important to be strategic in your honesty. There are times when it’s not wise to be brutally honest about your weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
For example, if you crumble under a certain type or kind of pressure, but it is irrelevant to the job requirements, avoid talking about it.
You are merely inviting an unnecessary direction and dissection. It can spoil your chances.
4. Don’t share an instance where you created the pressure
One of the biggest mistakes you can make while answering this question is to share an example in which you created the pressure.
Will any employer want to hire candidates who create unwanted scenarios or situations? Do they want to manage troublemakers?
They want to find a solution in you instead of adding more problems to their plate.
5. Don’t succumb to the interview pressure
Handling Stress and pressure during the interview can be difficult. But there are a few things that you can do to make the process a bit easier. This question can boost the stress that you already have.
So, first and foremost, it’s important to remember that everyone feels pressure at times, and it’s natural to feel some stress during an interview.
Then, the most important thing is to be prepared for the common interview questions. Make sure you know what you’re going to say, and imagine questions that you may be asked. It’s also helpful to dress appropriately and arrive on time. It will make you feel confident.
Finally, try to relax before the interview by taking deep breaths or doing some stretches.
6. Negative body language, posture, and tone
It is well known that how your body moves and how you sound when you are interacting with others tell 85% of your real story.
This is why even if you tell a great story but your body and tone are conveying the opposite, the interviewers will not be convinced with your answer.
Try answering this question before a mirror to get a feel of how you come across in your response.
By now it is clear that almost any job you will apply for will come with its own set of challenges and stressors.
The interviewers will want to know if you have the skills and temperament to handle them. This is why, “How do you handle stress and pressure?” will be a common interview question for freshers, especially for job openings where the ability to handle pressure is of paramount importance.
Carefully reading this article and applying the frameworks and methods will not only help you in creating a strong impression on the interviewer but also provide you with many valuable insights about you own self!