Stress Interviews And How To Deal With Them To Get The Job

By Varsha Pappachan

In an endeavor to find the right kind of talent, most companies nowadays conduct technical or skill-based interviews along with stress interviews. If you are planning to go for interviews or have interviews lined up already, this article would be helpful in providing you insights about stress interviews.

What Is A Stress Interview

In simple terms, a stress interview refers to the process of evaluating candidates on the basis of scenario-based or stressful situation-based questions. The main idea behind this kind of an interview is to throw all sorts of nerve-wracking questions at the candidates and to assess their ability to handle stress. The final decision is taken as per the attitude of the candidates throughout the stress interview, and their responses to the questions.

Dealing With Stress Interviews

Few examples of stress interview questions:

1. Describe a challenging and stressful situation that you encountered at work, and how you resolved it.
2. According to you, how successful have you been in your career?
3. What kind of colleagues do you feel uncomfortable working with?
4. How many companies have you applied at?
5. How do you handle rejection in your personal or professional lives?
6. What would you do if a colleague takes credit for your work?
7. How would you handle a boss/supervisor who is unreasonably demanding?

Few questions that freshers may be asked:

1. What is the definition of an ideal job to you?
2. What are your expectations from the company or your immediate boss?
3. Let us know your achievements at college.
4. Why do you feel you are better than the other candidates with a similar qualification as yours?
5. What would be the plan of action by you for a project with tight deadlines?

Techniques of stress interview questions:

1. Aggressive: This technique involves an unexpected question that would put you at discomfort. For example, "Why were you fired from your previous job?" Your response would display your state of mind, behavior and calmness when a direct and uncomfortable question is asked.

2. Aggressive Interview Attitude: The interviewer could get very aggressive by means of aggressive body language, tone of voice, words, facial expressions or overall behavior. This technique helps gauge your way of handling aggressive people.

3. Case Specific: This includes a hypothetical business-scenario-based question, while putting you in a dilemma with hard choices to reach the desired outcome or solution. This kind of technique helps the interviewer judge your ability to analyse the problem and apply your knowledge and logic to resolve it.

4. Unexpected Behavior: The interviewer displays unusual or unexpected behavior by asking questions totally unrelated to your field of job. For example, "What do you know about global warming?" Or, they could ask you the same question repeatedly, pretending either not listen to you or be confused about your response. This tactic helps them provoke you and know your patience level or how calm you stay while answering repetitive questions.

5. Brainteaser: In order to determine your thinking ability in a logical and analytical way, you may be asked puzzling questions of no direct relevance to your job. For example, how many vehicles are produced in India each year? You will not be expected to know the answer to the question but you will be assessed on your reasoning and way of finding out the estimate.

Apart from these techniques, there are other tactics that interviews might deploy to judge your behavioral responses and thinking ability.

They would:

1. Seem uninterested or preoccupied
2. Act hostile
3. Have poor listening skills
4. Ask same kind of questions
5. Keep interrupting you
6. Argue
7. Intentionally delay your interview
8. Ask you if you wish to modify or add any other information to your response

How You Should Respond To Stress Interview Questions

1. Stay Calm: It is very important to maintain your calm while responding to questions during a stress interview. Since the nature of the interview is such that it may irk you. Focus on wisely answering the questions while keeping your cool.

2. Do Not Be Offended: Certain offensive questions would be asked just to see how adept you are in handling criticism. Take it easy, and try not to be offended.

3. Seek Clarification In Case Of Doubt: If you are not clear about the question being asked, feel free to clarify your doubts with the interviewer. This may help you get an idea about the kind of response the interviewer is looking for, and would give you some time to think it over and better articulate your response.

4. Concentrate On The Way To Resolve The Query: Instead of striving to give the 'correct' answer to the question asked, focus on the best way to go about the resolution.

5. Be Professional: This is indeed very important. You should not, at any cost, stoop to any unprofessional behavior or gesture, irrespective of the stressful format of the interview.

6. Don't Be Intimidated Emotionally: Be polite, honest, open and direct, but not to an extent that the interviewer is able to intimidate you emotionally. Keep in mind that the interviewer is only trying tactics to make you uncomfortable, and you giving into their ways would go against you.

7. Listen: Quite relevant! You should listen carefully and think before you start answering the questions clearly. At times, the interviewer might challenge your response, stating that it is wrong. Make sure you don't backtrack and stick to your response with conviction.

Most of these stress interviews are conducted by employers to find the right kind of professionals for high-pressure or demanding jobs. By means of behavioral questions, the interviewers are able to evaluate and rate the candidates in a systematic way, to take the right decision in the interest of the company. Therefore, before you go for a stress interview, you MUST prepare yourself well as per the inputs provided.

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