When the hiring manager asks how you deal with stressful situations, it’s easy to fall for one of three traps. Watch out for these pitfalls and why you shouldn’t:
Don’t Say “I Don’t Get Stressed Out”
You think you’re stoic or showing that you can control yourself. Or maybe you think this is a great way to show that you’re always in control of every work situation and never get behind.
This doesn’t sound like it. The hiring manager will worry that you’re not self-aware – and will end up yelling at colleagues, doing lousy work, and falling further behind without feeling like you’re allowed to ask for help.
Don’t Say “I Delegate”
This is the wrong answer even if you’re applying for a management role. If you were doing your job right, you’d give your team meaningful assignments in relation to overall goals, not your specific workload. No one ever wants to work for a manager that hoards projects until they’re stressed out and assign them to other people who have their own workloads, just to manage their own stress. Actually doing this would be a fast way to lose an excellent team of people.
Don’t Say “I Just Put My Head Down and Push Through It”
Two problems with this: You don’t show that you would communicate with anyone else, including your manager and the rest of the team. You may also push yourself so hard that you burn out. This question usually comes up at a workplace with a demanding workload, so this answer implies that you might make a mess of it, not tell anyone, and quit.
*Be sure that you actually know how to deal with stress at work: Coping With Stress at Work
Best Answers to “How Do You Deal With Stressful Situations?”
Here is an example of an excellent answer:
“I stay motivated by thinking about the end result. I’ve found that if I focus on the long term result, it helps me focus on the goal and stay positive.”
If you’re applying for a manager position, here’s another option:
“As a manager, I’m aware that my response to stress affects my whole team’s morale. It’s my goal to model what I’d want the team to do, so I’d openly communicate with them about the situation and ask if anyone had the time to pitch in and help out.”
The key point of answering this question is that the hiring manager admits that there will be stress. You will be in stressful situations, so don’t deny the situation. Express how you work in a clear way that shows you’d ask others for help if you needed it, and that you will be there for the long-term.