Interview Questions

How to Answer the
"How Do You Handle Stressful Situations?" Question

When answering the "How do you handle stressful situations?" question during an interview, the best strategy is to give some examples of stressful situations you've dealt successfully with in the past.

Everyone faces some form of stress on the job now and then. They probably won't believe you if you say, "I've never been in a stressful situation."

So take some time before the interview to think back over your career and come up with some stressful situations you can talk about. Make sure they are situations that had a happy ending, thanks to specific actions you took to resolve the situation.

(If this is for your first job, think of a stressful situation during school or other aspects of your life where you were able to reach a satisfactory conclusion due to positive action you took.)

Tell how you used time management, problem-solving techniques or decision-making skills to reduce stress and take action. Mention stress-reducing activities such as exercise, stretching and taking breaks to handle the tension during the situation.

Don't be afraid to admit that you would ask for assistance if you began to feel overwhelmed.

If it's true, say you actually work better under pressure.

Some jobs are much more stressful than others. If you are asked a question about handling stressful situations in an interview, understand that this question is often given as a hint of what you are likely going to encounter in your work environment. In other words, they would not be asking you if you could handle stress if it wasn't an issue.



So give serious thought about how much stress you can handle - and how much you want to have to handle it because it clearly will be an issue if you accept an offer with this company.

If you absolutely do not want a stressful job, have an answer ready that makes this clear - or be willing to say "no" to a job offer if you get one. Depending upon the answer you give to an employer during the interview, it may eliminate you from the running, but you probably wouldn't want the position anyway if it's going to stress you out.

Sample Answer:

"I'm not easily stressed. One of my previous bosses even referred to me as "unflappable." I know the importance of being flexible and am good at adapting to changing situations and shifting priorities. But if I do start to feel stressed, I'll take a break to stretch or get a little exercise and clear my head. If the stress is affecting my work, and due to something beyond my control, I'll discuss it with my boss. I remember one situation when I was working at ABC Company where an important client demanded that we finish his project two weeks ahead! of schedule. At first that seemed like an impossible task. But instead of letting the stress overwhelm me, I took action. I looked at our other projects and found a way to shift some schedules around. It wasn't easy, but we did manage to meet the customer's demand, and he was very happy with the result.

Know the answer you want to give to a prospective employer before you get asked this question so that you are prepared with the answer you really want to give them.

Another Note About Stressful Jobs

If you think about the position of a 911 Operator, you will agree that this is a very stressful position. Consider what this position must entail on a day-to-day basis. What kinds of skills are needed? What kinds of requirements must a person in this position have in order to be considered for this job? In the interview, what kinds of questions would this person be asked?

You can find a list of Interviewing Tips, Job Duties, and Helpful Skills/Abilities for 911 Operators for the City of Springfield, Missouri by going to this page: City of Springfield 911 Jobs

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Additional Job Interview Q&A Info

For even more information about job interview questions and how to answer them, consider the "Job Interview Success System."

One of the 5 key components of this system is a 31-page report entitled "How to Give Job-Winning Answers to Interview Questions." In addition to giving more tips and strategies on general answering techniques, it lists 45 of the easiest, toughest, silliest and most common job interview questions as well as how to respond to them.






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