Tough Interview Question - Do you handle pressure well?

Do you handle pressure well?

Similar interview questions:
How do you react when under pressure?
How are you with making deadlines?
How do you respond when you need to deliver something without having enough time to do the job correctly?
How do you respond to stress?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
Most jobs involve some amount of pressure or stress. However, by the interviewer asking this question, it is an indicator that the job has some level of pressure or stress. It may have been why a past person has not performed well in the role, so it is being used now as a gating question for potential candidates. The interviewer is looking for your personal assessment of how well you respond to pressure and stress in delivering in your role.

The best approach to answering this question:
Use a specific example of when you successfully delivered under a deadline or under pressure to deliver. Use an example where you not only delivered on time, but also exceeded expectations.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"I do handle pressure well, in fact, let me give you an example. We recently had a request for a new feature to be added to our product. We had already mapped out the release schedule without this feature, then management decided to add the feature and keep the release cycle. As the lead for the team, it was my responsibility to deliver a bug-free product on time. Let me tell you what we did to meet this new schedule…"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"I do handle pressure well, in fact, let me give you an example. In my recent internship, I was asked to add a new feature halfway through the product development cycle. This was not part of the original scope and it meant that it would take extra work on my part to deliver it by the end of the internship. Here is what I did to deliver this expanded request by the end of my internship…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"There are lots of times that there is pressure to deliver in my job and most of the time it is due to management not knowing what I actually do and how long it takes to deliver. So I have started wearing ear buds and just ignoring people when they stop by my cube. If they try to interrupt me, I just point at my screen to tell them I am busy. That has reduced a lot of the stress and pressure in my work…"

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

Further review: know the answers to these Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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