How to answer "How do you handle stress or pressure in the workplace?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why Employers Ask This

Employers often ask the question "How do you handle stress or pressure in the workplace?" to see how you will cope with the challenges of the job. Stress and pressure are a common part of many roles, and employers want to know that you can handle the demands of the position without getting overwhelmed or burning out.

Additionally, your answer to this question can reveal a lot about your ability to problem-solve, communicate effectively, and work under tight deadlines. Employers are looking for candidates who can remain calm and focused under pressure and find solutions to any obstacles that may arise.

How to Answer the Question

When answering the question "How do you handle stress or pressure in the workplace?" there are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • Be honest: It's important to be truthful about how you handle stress and pressure in the workplace. You don't want to oversell your abilities and then find yourself struggling later on.
  • Provide examples: To show that you have experience handling stress in the workplace, provide specific examples of times when you had to deal with a difficult situation and how you managed it.
  • Show your problem-solving skills: Let the interviewer know that you are comfortable identifying problems, brainstorming solutions, and implementing changes when necessary.
  • Highlight your communication skills: Effective communication is key when it comes to handling stress and pressure in the workplace. Let the interviewer know that you are comfortable communicating with colleagues, managers, and clients to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Emphasize your ability to prioritize: When under pressure, it's important to manage your time effectively and prioritize tasks to ensure that everything gets done on time.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can provide a solid answer to the question "How do you handle stress or pressure in the workplace?" and demonstrate to your potential employer that you are capable of handling the demands of the job.

Sample answers

It's common for employers to ask job seekers how they handle stress or pressure in the workplace. While there are many different strategies for managing stress, some answers are more effective than others. Here are four sample answers to this question, along with an explanation of why they are good or bad:

  1. Bad answer: "I don't really get stressed out too easily. I just try to focus on my work and get things done."
    Explanation: This answer may sound confident, but it doesn't provide much insight into how the candidate handles stressful situations. Employers want to know that their employees can handle pressure effectively, so a more detailed answer would be better.
  2. Good answer: "When I feel stressed or overwhelmed at work, I like to take a quick break and go for a walk. This helps me clear my head and come back to my work with a fresh perspective. I also like to prioritize my tasks and make a to-do list to ensure that I'm focusing on the most important tasks first."
    Explanation: This answer shows that the candidate has a specific strategy for managing stress, which can help them stay productive and focused even when things get overwhelming. Additionally, the candidate's use of specific examples (such as taking a walk or making a to-do list) shows that they have thought about how to handle stress in the past.
  3. Bad answer: "I just power through it. No matter how stressed out I am, I never let it affect my work."
    Explanation: While it's admirable to be able to stay focused during stressful situations, this answer comes across as dismissive of the importance of managing stress effectively. Additionally, it doesn't provide any specific strategies for how the candidate handles stress, which can make the answer seem insincere.
  4. Good answer: "When I'm feeling stressed at work, I like to talk to my colleagues or my manager about how I'm feeling. I find that venting to someone I trust can help me feel more relaxed and less anxious. I also try to practice mindfulness by taking a few deep breaths or doing a quick meditation exercise."
    Explanation: This answer shows that the candidate has a strong support system in the workplace and is willing to seek out help when they need it. Additionally, the candidate's mention of mindfulness practices shows that they have tried different strategies for managing stress and have found what works for them.
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