How Do You Handle Stress Interview Question

The Answer To – How Do You Handle Stress Interview Question?

Job interviews present potential workers with a slew of difficult questions, assessments, and evaluations. Employers inquire about relevant experience and qualifications to ensure you will be the best fit for the company.

No matter which job you pursue, possible employers ask difficult questions, including the infamous “how do you handle stress” question. If you have a job opportunity coming up or just want to know how to best answer this tough question, keep reading.

This guide contains everything you need to know about handling the stress interview question.

What Is the Stress Interview Question?

When approaching a job interview, you need to prepare for any kind of questions related to the proposed job. These questions range from delving into details about your personal life to speaking about your interest in the job.

Among this wide range of questions comes the stress question, or:

  • “How do you handle stress?”

Different employers could phrase this question in different fashions, so it might look more like:

  • “Does stress affect you in a negative or a positive manner?”
  • “Do you let stress interfere with your daily life?”

If you do identify as someone that lets stress get to them, that is okay; you just need to know how to answer this question in a manner that proves you can handle the stress.

How to Answer the Stress Question In Interviews?

candidate giving interview

To delineate your ability to properly react to stress, you need to spend some time before the interview to figure out how you actually do react to stress.

Yes, the employer wants to know the way you will react to see if you match what they are looking for, but you should also get a grasp on your reaction so you can form the best possible answer during the interview.


When an interviewer asks you the stress interview question, you should take a moment to reflect on any real situation where you properly handled stress. Say this is your first official job interview, but when you were in school, you studied a lot and worked a part-time job.

When exams came around, you had to balance the stress of passing the exams and completing your job tasks. You were very stressed, but instead of breaking down and succumbing to the stress, you were able to plan out each day and assign specific amounts of time to each activity.

This allowed you to treat your schoolwork and your job with care and also to avoid spreading yourself too thin.

When you give an example to your potential employer, you demonstrate your responsibility and your work ethic. Your applicant stands out among other people who don’t know how to handle stress.

Plus, preparing your answers and examples beforehand illustrates that you took the time to prep for the interview instead of winging it.

Make a List

Before you head into the interview, it is imperative to make a list of several things that make you stressed and several ways you handle dealing with that stress. If you experience stress frequently, you might have a set meditation regime in the morning before you begin your other daily activities.

Maybe you feel less stressed when you eat healthier or sleep more. Whatever it is that makes you feel stressed, spend some time accounting for how you can offset the stress and achieve a more calm and collected state.

For your list, think of examples of stressful situations and what methods you use to destress.

For example:

Say you used to work at a grocery store, and when the line got too long, you started to sweat and get nervous you would mess up someone’s order.

Maybe you thought you would forget to ring up an item. Instead of paging your manager or coworker to fill your spot while you figured out how to calm down, you took a few deep breaths and focused on ringing up one item at a time and being friendly with each customer.

This shows that you recognize stress and difficult interactions, but you can recenter your thinking and complete your job.

When answering the potential employer’s questions, speak about the various ways you calm yourself down during stressful situations. Explaining your tactics and methods helps the employer see that you are dedicated and devoted to maintaining a calm presence while completing what is asked of you.

If you are unable to express how you calm yourself down or do not have any methods to destress, the employer will find other workers to fill the open positions. Proving your capability to handle stressful situations shows that you could be a great fit for the job.

Positivity Always Beats Negativity

a girl giving oliver wyman test Interview

Interviewers want to hear about your success stories and how you overcome tricky situations, but they do not want to pity you, and they do not want to give you sympathy. Rather, they want to see how you stand out among a group of people wanting pity and sympathy.

What this means is do not bring up examples where you shed a negative light on other people. Do not speak about yourself in a way that belittles others or makes you superior. What you need to do is showcase your actions and your responsibilities, not the actions and responsibilities of others.

For example:

Say your manager at a bookstore you used to work for asked you to stock the books, count the books in the back room, and sweep the cafe before the store closed in the next few hours.

You said yes to all three tasks because your coworker tended to sit in the comic book section and read them while he was supposed to be stocking books. You struggled to complete all of the tasks, and then you faced the consequences.

You know that your coworker didn’t complete the jobs he was hired to do, but to a new employer, you talking poorly about the coworker (even if it is true) makes you look like you’re trying to find someone else to blame.

You could have said no to the manager because those tasks would be too much for any one person to complete, but instead, you took them all on and couldn’t do them.

This kind of behavior could show your employers that you can’t handle what you take on or you will always promise to do more than you are capable of. It is not a good look.

To avoid portraying yourself in a negative fashion, speak about the various communication tactics you used to communicate to your manager that you needed some assistance completing all three of those tasks.

Plus, you should never speak ill about your former coworkers to your new potential employers. No one wants to hire someone who badmouths their coworkers.

Also, remember that treating a potential job with a positive attitude shows the employer that you deserve the job.

Be Honest

When a potential employer asks you how you handle stress, you should never respond that you don’t feel stress at your job or you don’t handle stress well. Virtually all jobs come with some aspect of stress.

Even if you work from home, you have to navigate the stress of completing all of your assignments, communicating with your team effectively via emails and video calls, and contributing to your job.

Employers know stress is a huge part of work, so if you lie and say you don’t get stressed, they won’t believe you, or they won’t think you are serious enough to work for their company. But, we are human, and we all face moments where we stumble on our words during important interviews.

If you forget how you handle stress or you cannot come up with any example, no matter how much you try, think about your daily life.

If you have kids, think about the ways you handle the stress of getting them up in the morning, feeding them, getting them to school, picking them up, doing homework with them, putting them to bed, and any other routines you may handle throughout the day.

Do you rely on a babysitter to supervise your children while you run errands, or do their grandparents help out? Do they have an allergy or disability you have to attend to? How do you handle all of those activities while taking time for yourself?

Do you take a bath to unwind? Do you curl up with a book after the kids go to sleep? Do you go for a run in the morning before everyone else wakes up? Whatever situation applies to you, describe (in detail) how you manage your stress levels daily.

Even if you do not speak about specific job stress, daily stress management translates to career stress.


Job interviewers ask myriad questions to job candidates. One of the most common interview questions is, “how do you handle stress?” Before going into a job interview, you should make a list of the various ways you manage your stress and provide specific examples of how you collect your stress.

If you do not have any examples, apply the list to your daily life. Also, remember to speak in a positive manner rather than a negative manner for the best chances of getting hired.

Good luck!