There are some job interview questions, which if you answer too honestly, can actually hurt your chances of getting the job. Many stress management interview questions are like that, and some – like the following question – can really work against you if you provide an answer that indicates in any way that you might have a problem with the work. Yet many employers like to ask this question.
Behavioral Interview Question: Which specific elements of your current role do you fine the most stressful?
Think of this as the behavioral interview version of the “biggest weakness” question. It’s there to see if you’re going to openly share something that could affect your ability to do the job. It makes it easier for the interviewer to cross people off the list. This is where making sure you have thoroughly researched the company and the job description becomes really important. Your answer should be:
- Genuine – Make sure your answer is real and keep it to the point.
- Minimal – Make sure your answer is not critical. The things you find stressful should not be critical to the job description.
- Followed Up – No matter what answer you give, make sure that you talk about what you’re actively doing to reduce stress.
All jobs about managing stress at work have to end with you talking about what you’re doing to make sure that that stress doesn’t continue to bother you, so keep that in mind with your answer. An example of this type of answer includes:
“In a lot of ways, job stress is motivating. It keeps you focused on a solution, so I think that all tasks have a bit of stress, and that stress is what keeps me on my toes. But if I have to pick a task that is stressful, it has to be waiting on other people to deliver key elements of a project. That time when you need to stop and wait for someone else’s contribution can be stress because you are not in control of the process. Once I recognised this, I started focusing more on open communication and making sure I had a strategy for regular updates to reduce stress in the future.”
As you can see, the answer isn’t too focused on a task (indeed, unless applying for a management role, it’s not necessarily a task at all) but it’s a genuine answer that the interviewers can relate to, and you follow up that answer with something that you’re doing to manage stress at work in the future.
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