Do you know why we tend to ‘freak out’ when we are under lots of stress? Our brain switches over to an instinctive defense system and our body starts producing adrenaline. These change override our normally logical thought process and the result isn’t pretty. The trick is to be prepared and stay calm. Have a look at our post – 4 tips for staying calm during a job interview.
There is a very good chance you will be asked the Behavioural Interview Question –
What has been the most stressful situation you have ever found yourself in at work? How did you handle it?
Here we’re faced with a few problems. When telling a story about being stressed, you want to:
- Avoid making a common situation sound like it caused you stressed.
- Avoid sounding as though you could not handle the stress.
- Avoid over-describing what the stress was like.
You want to look like someone that handles pressure easily, which means you need to avoid saying “I was coming close to a deadline and I felt as though I couldn’t handle it” because you’ll be faced with many deadlines. You don’t want to tell stories about struggling with a supervisor, struggling with a customer, or anything that may be a normal part of the new position.
Instead, focus on universally stressful scenarios, minimize how much you talk about the stress, and focus instead on what you did to solve it.
“We were coming across a deadline at COMPANY X, and our entire computer system crashed right before it was due. I called IT immediately and while they fixed it I went to pick up my personal laptop. I went back to work and started working on the last parts of the project that I could until IT fixed it at almost 11pm. Finally I was able to combine documents and I sent it in, almost with an apology note and a discount on future projects. I knew the situation could have been a disaster, but IT really saved the day, and from then on I started backing up projects more frequently online to avoid any last minute problems.”
Notice that with this type of answer, you did not even say you were stressed. Rather, you identified a universally stressful situation (computer crashing) and focused only on what you did to solve it. You even thanked someone for their assistance, while still implying credit for staying up late to complete it.
You may not have had an answer quite so perfect, but every position will have its universally stressful moments. Share something the interviewer can identify with, and come up with all of the ways you managed to solve the situation, including what you “did” in the future to avoid it.
It’s a good idea to plan for these types of questions ahead of time. Write out 5 different stressful situations you can think of and try to see if you can identify what the interviewer will hear about your character when you share it. Feel free and share your thoughts in the comments below.
See Also Related Post – How Do You Work Under the Pressure of Deadlines
See Also Related Post – How Do You Handle Deadlines For Multiple Assignments