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How Do You Handle Stress – Interview Question

Everyone should be familiar with some of the more common questions asked during an interview. One of them is, “can you tell me about yourself?” Another is, “why are you interested in this job?” Another common question is, “how do you handle stress in the workplace?”

Because these interview questions are so common in software engineer jobs, you could find yourself spending less time preparing for an upcoming interview. After all, the questions are things that you’ve likely answered countless times already. The answers should be relatively straightforward. However, despite them being seemingly easy questions, they can dictate the success or failure of your interview. The interviewer is generally looking to collect pertinent information based on your answers.

Instead of going into your interview without adequate preparation for these common questions, you want to give yourself the upper hand by going into the interview fully ready to answer these questions.

1. Understand Why They Are Asking The Questions

The first thing you need to be aware of when it comes to prepping for these questions is why they are asking them. Before answering any question, ask yourself, “why are they asking this?” Once you ask yourself that question, you can get to the bottom of what they are fishing for. This can help you figure out how to effectively answer the question. The question, “how do you handle stress in the workplace” is a common one. They are doing this to figure out your behavior and personality.

By asking this question, they can get a good feel for how you conduct yourself in the workplace. This is important because they need to assess your fit with the organization. They want to know how you are going to be fitting into their office. You want to highlight specific examples that showcased your ability to handle stress in the workplace. The interviewer will be using this information to assess whether or not you would be a good addition to the company.

2. Create a List Of Soft Skills

Before answering the question about how you handle stress, you may want to create a list of soft skills. These soft skills can be showcased and highlighted when you are giving examples of how you handled a stressful situation. These soft skills can include; communication, organization, leadership, adaptability, and more. All of these skills can be useful when you are dealing with a stressful situation where you were under a lot of pressure to perform. By listing how the soft skills helped you get through the situation, you can showcase to the interviewer that you know how to leverage these skills to get things done. 

3. Add Context To Skills You Bring Up

Simply listing skills is not going to get you anywhere. You need to be bringing up skills relevant to the position. Not only that, but you want to add context to the skills you have. Start thinking about how these skills helped you in a previous position and how they can help you in the one you are applying for. Jot examples down where the soft skills helped you. However, you don’t want to highlight situations that you caused.

For instance, if you had a project due the following day and you took on excess work, it’s not your best moment to discuss. Rather than discuss that, you want to try to highlight a time when you helped coworkers or even your boss get something done when they were in a crunch. Always try to find examples that would apply to the job you are applying for.

4. Focus On Positive Actions

Whenever you are talking about instances where you handled stress, try to focus on positive aspects. For instance, don’t talk about how your coworkers left you hanging or that your boss put you in a bind. Discuss how you utilized the soft skills you highlighted to effectively prioritize things and get everything done. Always try to be positive in an interview. The interviewer doesn’t want to hear about excuses. They want to see that you can look at things positively and get things done.

5. Don’t Deny The Stress

Don’t deny that you’ve experienced stress while working. Everyone experiences stress. They want to know that you can handle it. 

If you cannot recall specific examples of job-related stress and how you handled it, try to describe how you handle stress in your personal life. Do you meditate? Do you work out? Do you take breaks when you need them? An interviewer wants to know how you effectively handle stress because they don’t want someone that is going to be a negative addition to the workplace. They want someone that can come in and handle the job without becoming a liability. Giving them a glimpse into how you handle stress in your personal life can help them assess whether or not you would be a good addition.

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