How Do You Deal With Pressure or Stressful Situations?

With this question, the hiring managers want to understand your capability to handle job-related stressful situation. There can be many challenges at work such as having multiple assignments, tight deadlines, dealing with unsatisfied customer etc.
The employers want to hire those candidates who can handle range of stressful situations. They want to hear from you on how you react to the pressure situation, how it affects you and how you manage it. So, please don't say that you never feel stressed or you have never encountered pressure situation. Even if you are a fresher, you might have gone through many tough situations during college life, exams or internship. When it comes to stress, no one is stranger to the feeling.

You know, stress management is a wonderful skill. If you can demonstrate that you can work well under pressure, you can impress your hiring manger. So, you should prepare to present a strong case of how to cope up with stress.     

Alrite, so let's have a few tips for giving the best answer

Tell them an instance when you had to face tough time and how you rose to the situation. Talk about the situation and task that you had to complete. Describe the action you took and result you eventually got. That way, they get a clear picture of how well you can work in stressful situations.

Don't say that you were too stressed, that it left you overwhelmed. While you can admit that you were stressed but try to highlight how you overcome the situation rather than how much it troubled you. Talk about how it helped you be a more creative and productive. You should talk about how you focused at work despite feeling stressed. You can also talk about how relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing help you avoid stress.  

Example for an Experienced Candidate

Yes, we all are sensitive to stressful situation. It's quite natural to get tensed over unusual situation. But, I have learnt to focus at work rather than thinking too much on the situation. For example, in my current role, we had a deployment schedule in a week and my colleague fell sick. My manager requested me to work on his module. It was difficult to manage two modules. But, I took up the challenge and put extra hours. I discussed work with my colleague and prioritize my responsibilities so I have a clear idea of what needs to be done, broke the tasks into smaller assignments, worked till late night and finally completed the task on time. I had to apply my creativity and focus to make it possible. It taught me that pressure can harness best out of you. I was so busy at work that I couldn't feel stressed out. It helped building a good relationship with my manager and he started trusting me more. I always try to take challenges and responsibilities which I believe, help me to be less sensitive to stress.

Example for a Fresher

I believe working under pressure is a challenge and it can be stressful. But it brings many lessons along the way and helps become more creative and productive at work. One should get used to working in a challenging situation. Recently, when we were working on our final year project, we made a last minute change in a module and that required a lot of changes in other modules. We were running out of time, but instead of panicking, I took the lead, chart a plan on paper while keeping everyone in the loop and distribute the tasks. Everyone got so focused that they couldn't feel the heat of deadline and we could finish the project on time. And, we also got a lot of praise for the project. We basically didn't let the stress take over the situation.

So, in these examples, you have situation, task, action, result and lesson. You have to highlight the skills you used to overcome the obstacles instead of bragging too much about negative emotions. And that will be enough to give a clear cut idea to hiring manager about your ways to handle pressure situation. I hope, these examples will help you frame your own answer. Now, before wrapping up, I would like to add that you should also prepare for possible follow-up questions such as

- What challenges are you looking for in this role?
- How do you manage a heavy workload?
- Describe an instance when your workload was heavy
- and what steps you took to handle it?
- What's your ideal Work Environment?