How to Successfully Handle Stress During a Job Interview

Job interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when the interviewer throws in a few stress interview questions. These questions are designed to assess how well you handle pressure and uncertainty in the workplace. However, with the right mindset and preparation, you can turn the stress interview into an opportunity to showcase your strengths and resilience. In this article, we’ll explore some tips and examples on how to successfully handle stress during a job interview.

Understanding the Stress Interview

Types of Stress Interviews

  • The Brain Teaser: These are questions that are designed to test your problem-solving skills and ability to think on your feet. They may involve puzzles, riddles, or scenarios that require you to come up with creative solutions. The purpose of these questions is to see how you handle pressure and how well you can perform under stress.
  • The Bizarre Interview Questions: These are questions that are meant to catch you off guard and see how you react to unexpected situations. They may be unconventional, absurd, or even irrelevant to the job you are applying for. The purpose of these questions is to test your ability to think outside the box and how well you can handle unexpected situations.
  • The Behavioral Interview Questions: These are questions that ask you to describe specific situations from your past work experience and how you handled them. They may ask you to describe a time when you had to overcome a difficult challenge, work with a difficult coworker, or handle a difficult customer. The purpose of these questions is to see how you have handled similar situations in the past and how well you can apply those experiences to the job you are applying for.

Preparing for Stress Interviews

Research the Company and Position

  • One of the most effective ways to prepare for a stress interview is to research the company and the position you are applying for. This will help you understand the company’s culture, values, and goals, as well as the specific requirements and expectations for the role.
  • It is important to gather as much information as possible about the company, including its history, products or services, and any recent news or developments. This will help you to better understand the company’s priorities and how you can align your skills and experience with its needs.
  • Additionally, researching the position will help you to understand the specific challenges and opportunities that come with the role, as well as the qualifications and experience that are required for success. This will allow you to tailor your responses to the specific needs of the company and position, demonstrating your understanding of the role and how you can contribute to its success.

Prepare Answers to Common Interview Questions

  • Another key aspect of preparing for a stress interview is to prepare answers to common interview questions. This will help you to feel more confident and in control during the interview, as you will have thought through your responses in advance and can articulate them clearly and concisely.
  • Some common interview questions that you may want to prepare for include:
    • Why are you interested in this position?
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    • Can you describe a time when you faced a challenge and how you overcame it?
    • How do you handle stress and pressure in the workplace?
    • What are your long-term career goals?
  • When preparing your answers, it is important to focus on specific examples and experiences that demonstrate your skills and qualifications. This will help you to provide concrete evidence of your abilities and make a stronger impression on the interviewer.
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Practice Good Communication Skills

  • Finally, practicing good communication skills is crucial for handling stress during a job interview. This includes not only speaking clearly and confidently, but also listening actively and responding thoughtfully to the interviewer’s questions.
  • To practice your communication skills, you may want to conduct mock interviews with a friend or mentor, or record yourself answering interview questions and review your performance. This will help you to identify areas where you can improve your communication style and delivery, and to build your confidence and poise during the interview.
  • Additionally, it is important to pay attention to nonverbal communication, such as body language and facial expressions. This will help you to convey confidence and professionalism, even under stressful conditions.

During the Stress Interview

During a stress interview, the interviewer may intentionally create an uncomfortable or challenging environment to test your ability to handle pressure and solve problems under stress. It is important to remain calm and composed during this type of interview, as it can greatly impact your chances of being hired. Here are some tips for successfully handling stress during a job interview:

  • Stay Calm and Confident: It is natural to feel nervous during a job interview, but try to stay calm and confident. Take deep breaths and remind yourself that you have the skills and qualifications needed for the job. Avoid fidgeting or becoming overly animated, as this can make you appear nervous and unprofessional.
  • Speak Clearly and Slowly: When you are under stress, it is easy to become flustered and speak too quickly. However, it is important to speak clearly and slowly during a job interview, so that the interviewer can understand your responses. If you are unsure of a question, take a moment to gather your thoughts before answering.
  • Show Your Problem-Solving Skills: During a stress interview, the interviewer may intentionally present you with a difficult problem or scenario to see how you handle stress. It is important to show your problem-solving skills by outlining your thought process and steps you would take to solve the problem. Use specific examples from your past experiences to demonstrate your ability to handle stress and solve problems.

Coping Strategies for Stress Interviews

Mindfulness Techniques

During a job interview, it’s normal to feel stressed and anxious. However, by practicing mindfulness techniques, you can reduce your stress levels and present yourself in the best possible light. Here are some mindfulness techniques that you can use to cope with stress during a job interview:

Deep Breathing

One of the simplest and most effective mindfulness techniques is deep breathing. When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, your body tends to tense up, and your breathing becomes shallow. By taking slow, deep breaths, you can relax your body and calm your mind.

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To practice deep breathing, find a comfortable seated position and place your hands on your lap. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, filling your lungs with air. Hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly and completely through your mouth. Repeat this process several times until you feel more relaxed.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Another mindfulness technique that can help you manage stress during a job interview is progressive muscle relaxation. This technique involves systematically tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in your body.

To practice progressive muscle relaxation, start by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. Tense the muscles in your toes for a few seconds, and then release them. Move up to your calves, thighs, buttocks, abdomen, back, arms, and finally, your face. As you tense and relax each muscle group, focus on the sensation of tension and release.


Visualization is a powerful mindfulness technique that can help you manage stress and anxiety. During a job interview, you can use visualization to imagine yourself performing well and answering questions confidently.

To practice visualization, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Visualize yourself walking into the interview room, shaking hands with the interviewer, and answering questions with ease and confidence. Imagine yourself making a positive impression and acing the interview. The more vividly you can imagine the scenario, the more effective the visualization will be.

By practicing these mindfulness techniques, you can reduce your stress levels and present yourself in the best possible light during a job interview.

Positive Self-Talk

When it comes to managing stress during a job interview, positive self-talk is a powerful tool that can help you stay calm and focused. Here are some tips to help you incorporate positive self-talk into your interview preparation:

  • Encourage Yourself: Before the interview, take a few moments to encourage yourself. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments, and remind yourself that you have prepared well for the interview. Visualize yourself performing well during the interview, and remind yourself that you can handle any questions that come your way.
  • Avoid Negative Self-Talk: It’s important to avoid negative self-talk during the interview process. Don’t allow yourself to become your own worst critic. If you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, interrupt them and replace them with positive affirmations.
  • Use Positive Affirmations: Positive affirmations can help you stay focused and confident during the interview. Repeat affirmations to yourself before the interview, such as “I am capable and confident,” or “I have the skills and experience needed for this job.” Choose affirmations that resonate with you and that help you feel empowered.

By incorporating positive self-talk into your interview preparation, you can help manage stress and anxiety, and present your best self during the interview. Remember, confidence and positivity are key factors in making a good impression on potential employers.

Building Resilience

When it comes to handling stress during a job interview, building resilience is key. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and adapt to change. Here are some tips for building resilience during a job interview:

  • Learn from Mistakes: It’s natural to make mistakes during a job interview, but it’s important to learn from them. Reflect on what went wrong and how you can improve for future interviews. Use these experiences as an opportunity to grow and become a better candidate.
  • Seek Support from Others: Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family, or mentors for support before and after the interview. Talking to others who have been through the process can help you feel more prepared and confident. You can also seek advice from a career coach or a professional recruiter.
  • Focus on Solutions, Not Problems: During a job interview, it’s easy to get caught up in problems and obstacles. Instead, focus on solutions and how you can overcome challenges. By focusing on solutions, you’ll show the interviewer that you’re proactive and resourceful, which are valuable traits in any employee.
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1. What is stress during a job interview?

Stress during a job interview is a normal feeling that many people experience. It occurs when a person feels pressure to perform well and answer questions correctly. This pressure can come from the interviewer, the job itself, or the candidate’s own expectations. Stress can cause physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, and rapid heartbeat, as well as mental symptoms such as forgetfulness and anxiety.

2. Why do interviewers ask stress interview questions?

Interviewers ask stress interview questions to test how a candidate handles pressure and stressful situations. They want to know if the candidate can think clearly and respond appropriately under pressure. Stress interview questions may also be used to assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills, decision-making ability, and coping mechanisms.

3. What are some examples of stress interview questions?

Examples of stress interview questions include:
* How would you handle a difficult customer?
* Can you give an example of a time when you had to solve a difficult problem?
* Tell me about a time when you had to make a tough decision.
* How do you handle stress in the workplace?
* How do you prioritize tasks when under pressure?

4. How can I prepare for stress interview questions?

To prepare for stress interview questions, you can practice answering common stress interview questions with a friend or family member. You can also prepare by researching the company and the job you are applying for, so you have a better understanding of the type of situations you may encounter on the job. It can also be helpful to practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation to help manage stress during the interview.

5. What should I do if I experience stress during an interview?

If you experience stress during an interview, it’s important to remain calm and composed. Take a few deep breaths and focus on your answers. Avoid rambling or getting off topic, and try to answer the question as clearly and concisely as possible. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s okay to say so and offer to provide additional information or examples. Remember that the interviewer is there to help you, not to intimidate you.

How Do You Handle Stress? | Best Answer (from former CEO)

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