Can You Deal with High-Pressure Situations?

Job Interview Question & Answer: Would You Say That You Can Easily Handle High-Pressure Situations?

Why Managers Ask this Question

If the topic of stress comes up during an interview, you should be able to explain successful ways you handle it. Anxiety and pressure at work can affect job performance, and managers want to know you can approach those situations successfully.

Be Honest

When managers ask a question like “How well do you handle stress at work?” it’s important to answer truthfully. Being honest during a job interview helps managers decide the best fit for you at their company. It also allows them to explain what parts of the position might be considered stressful.

Responses to Avoid

Responding to any question negatively can impact a manager’s decision to hire you. When discussing how well you handle stress at work, avoid responses that include the following statements:

  • I don’t like it when someone criticizes my work
  • Having a deadline makes me anxious
  • I get overwhelmed when I have a lot to do

Responses like these are a red flag for employers and can impact your chances of getting the job. A well-thought-out answer that focuses on moments you managed your stress is a much better approach.

Sample Answers

Take a look at the following responses to a question like “Can you handle stressful situations at work?” These are sample responses, so remember to come up with your own.

Sample Answer 1 – Restaurant Server

“Waiting tables requires a lot of multitasking, and that used to make me a little anxious. The way I’ve learned to overcome my stress is to write everything down. That way, I don’t worry about forgetting someone’s order or if a customer needs a drink refill.”

Sample Answer 2 – Grocery Store Cashier

“I get really long lines at my checkout lane during the day. When I first started my job, it caught me off guard. Now it’s something I’ve learned to expect and manage successfully. Having experience with the job has made me feel more confident, so now I feel like I can get through busy times much easier.”

Sample Answer 3 – Hotel Housekeeper

“You have to be fast when you’re cleaning a hotel room. Guests are always checking in, and you don’t want to make them wait. It’s even harder when someone calls off or during a busy holiday, but I’ve found that working with my team keeps me from feeling stressed out. We help each other and make sure to support one another. When I get stressed, I communicate it with them and we come up with a plan to get the work done.”

Things to Keep in Mind

Providing concrete examples of how you manage stress at work is essential. However, there are a few other tips to help you impress hiring managers. When you’re coming up with your own responses to “Can you deal with high-pressure situations?” remember to:

  • Speak clearly and confidently about how you overcome stress
  • Keep the tone positive and upbeat
  • Maintain good posture and appear relaxed

Combine these ideas with your own experiences to create responses that are honest, optimistic and impressive.

Video Tutorial

Video Transcript

Our participant does a good job following the C.A.R. method. If you don’t know what the C.A.R method is, click the video window to my right to learn everything you need to know about it. He starts with a challenge, describes the actions he took, and wraps it up by providing a positive outcome. However, he isn’t very compelling with the challenge he selected. Essentially, he says that he was in a role where he didn’t receive a lot of direction. From there he seemingly recounted the duties of his job. This caused the answer to go on a little too long. It wasn’t very engaging to begin with, so he’d probably lose the interest of most interviewers.

Instead providing a generic challenge, he should focus on one major obstacle and how he applied his talents to overcome it. With a little bit of tweaking, this could be a much better answer. Let us know what you think of this response in the comments down below.

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