8+ Stress Interview Questions & Answers
Stress interview questions are questions that are being asked by the interviewer in order to provide a slight amount of strain on the conversation. This is essentially when the interviewer decides they want to ask questions not related to the conversation in order to make the interviewee go through a cognitive switch of their mental state and see how well they perform under that strain.
Why stress interview questions are asked
All jobs, especially those that have some type of managerial or human-relations related component to them, have situations where you need to quickly change your communication style. For example, you may be speaking with senior leadership and then dealing with a team members argumentative state. And this may happen all within a few minutes. You need to be able to navigate these waters as it relates to your communication tactics and styles. Being able to do this shows experience, candor and ultimately professionalism. When interviewers put you under these scenarios, they are testing your abilities to do this.
How to answer these questions
You have to be able to think quickly under the circumstances. Even though I will provide stress interview questions and answers here, with regard to the scenario at hand, you'll still have to think on your feet. Technically, that is the point. If you'd like to practice this, simply have a friend place a timer, then ask you a series of questions that you are not prepared for all within the same mode of thinking. Then, ask them to randomly ask a question that you will not be prepared for during that session. Be sure you are answering the questions within a short period of time or else you will not have the stress of what it's like to be in an active interview.
Stress interview questions and answers
Lets dig into some example stress questions and ways that you may want to answer them. Understand that you will have to answer these questions in your own way, given the interview and its conversation. Most times these questions are asked in person vs. a phone interview, so expect that some of your body language will also communicate something on your behalf. Be sure to have body language that seems confident. Don't fidget or seem uncomfortable. That will be the largest signal that you are not confident with your answers.
1. How are you doing on this interview?
I'm doing the absolute best I can. But I sense there are areas I can improve. I'm confident in my abilities but feel there's always room for growth.
2. How successful has this interview been?
So far it seems fairly successful, how do you think its going?
3. Am I doing a good job interviewing you?
You are doing a fantastic job interviewing me, lets keep going.
4. What other jobs are you applying for?
I have to keep my needs in perspective and hedge against potential outcomes here. But this is the job I want. I deserve it.
5. How do you handle criticism from others?
I'm always of the opinion that there are things we can improve upon. Both personally, as a team and as a company. Lets grow together.
6. What do you do when someone verbally assaults you?
Primarily, do not engage. Walk away and handle the situation with HR professionally.
7. Why are you here?
Why wouldn't I be here? This is an amazing company, a fantastic opportunity, and one I can do a great job at. There's no reason I wouldn't be here.
8. What would you improve about my interviewing style?
You are doing great at [X], maybe you should try to elaborate on what types of answers you are looking for so that I can help you get the information you need more efficiently. Versus me potentially being broader and then failing to provide you exactly what you are looking for.
9. How soon would you leave this job?
I don't see myself leaving anytime soon. But of course, I see this being an incredible opportunity for me to advance both my career and my skillsets. And with that I hope that one day I can either have internal mobility within the organization and move up or find a job which will reward me for my efforts and successes here.
Related interview questions
Related to these types of odd interview questions is "What makes you unique" and "How did you hear about this position?". After the interview is all said and done you may be thinking to yourself, how do I understand if this went well or went poorly? There's a guide we've put together here that can help you with that.
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