Uncommon Interview Question: When You Find Yourself Under a Tight Deadline, What Do You Do to Handle the Stress
Deadline questions are fairly common. They are asked both for your benefit and for the interviewer’s benefit. By asking you questions about how you deal with deadlines, you learn that the company may be somewhat high stress and use it to make a decision about whether you want to work there, and the company learns if you can handle deadlines based on not only your answer, but also how you answer.
Yet you may be asked more than simply “do you handle deadlines well.” You may be asked how you handle deadlines well. In other words, what do you do to make sure that deadlines don’t stress you out too much?
How to Answer
Focus on strictly professional things that you do. If you sit and meditate, that is not the type of answer that employers want to hear. Instead, you should focus on what you do with the project to make sure that you do not feel stressed.
“Whenever I am getting close to a tight deadline I like to take a moment and pray. I ask God if she will grant me the strength I need to complete the project, and if she will bless me with her powers of happiness even if I fail.”
“In order to reduce the stress of a deadline, I make sure that I have mapped out all of the tasks I need completed to finish the project before deadline, including quality checks and confirming all aspects of the project are in place. In general, I also try to complete all of the most difficult aspects of the project first, so that the deadline does not feel as difficult. I also communicate with every member of the team and the client to make sure that everyone knows where we are in the schedule and what needs to be completed next.”
This is a much better answer. You are saying that in order to reduce stress at the deadline, you make sure everything is going perfectly, and have plans in place that help you feel confident about its completion. That reflects well on you as an employee and as an individual.
Take Away Interview Tip
- Focus on the business side of handling stress.