Career success

How To Handle A Stress interview And Come Out Okay

Job interview tips

Stress interviews are most common in interviews for sales jobs and other job roles where there is a high level of stress to meet quotas or deadlines- stock market jobs(similar to sales jobs), high volume customer contact, outsourced work etc.


The main tip on handling stress interviews is to stay calm. Never take the bait when the rude, overly critical interviewer becomes too aggressive or asks too personal a question. The interviewer wants to see you lose your shit and show your normal self. He is going to be like that to every other candidate.


So, it is okay to give the best answer you can. And tell them, this is the best answer you can give to them.

It is okay to repeat your answers- in stress interviews, the same question will be asked in different ways.

Standing up for what you know is right.


Kind of stress interview questions likely to put you on edge:


Why weren't you promoted in your last job?

Why haven't you accomplished more in your career?

Why didn't you go to a better college?

What makes you think you can survive here?


They are also looking at your reaction: your body language, facial expressions, behavior and communication.

They are looking when we go speechless, when we stutter while answering something, when we get angry and face looks flushed, when and how often we shift, fidget, showing our discomfort.


In other words, your non-verbal response matters a lot.


To repeat: Keep your cool. Smile. Speak slowly and intentionally. Pause and take a breath when needed. Joke some if it helps.

And be strong. They can smell the fear from a distance.


Be 'meta' about it. Make them know you know they are just doing a job and it is okay. This will also help you be strong and controlled.


Five Kinds of Stress Interview Tactics


- Painful or Aggressive Questions: E.g. “Why were you fired?


- Aggressive Interview Attitude or Behavior: Where the interviewer thinks he is the Marines sergeant from 'Full Metal Jacket'.


- Unexpected Interview Behaviors: For example, asking the same question again and again.


- Brainteasers or Puzzle Interviews: The rise of the software industry has given a huge boost to these kinds of interviews where they just want to see you work out a solution, if there is on. They want to see your process and your willingness to take on challenges with an open mind- ' lets see how it would work out'


Case Interviews: Common with those those high-priced business analyst/consulting jobs where the MBAs go. They present an open-ended business situation, involving a dilemma or set of hard choices, and you have to describe a path toward a solution. Again, they want to look at your thought process and your knowledge.


Five ways to respond to stress interviews:


1. Clarify the question and the nature of the answer desired.

This gives you some time to think about what the interviewer is trying to get at?


You can also questions to clarify the situation. They want you to ask questions.


2. Do it all aloud

Communicate what you’re thinking and doing.


3. State your assumptions, and ask for unknown information.


4. Remember they mostly want to look at your process- the way in which you’re solving the problem, not necessarily the “right answer.


5. You can answer with a story / anecdote / something interesting you just read about, but it must be relevant to the question asked.


Thank you for reading.
This guide is from The Success Manual, which contains 200+ guides to succeeding in business, career and personal life.  Get the pdf ebook for $12 only.