Stress InterviewWhen applying for a position at some company, one is typically given a job interview, which often takes the special form called a stress interview. In such a setting, the candidate may be questioned by several of the staff members in succession—or in some cases, all at once, with each of them taking turns with his questions, all of which are specially chosen to make the interviewee nervous.

The purpose of such an arrangement is to see how that person will conduct himself in a stressful situation. A stress interview is crucial because such situations are going to be encountered on the actual job, and the supervisors want to know if that person can handle without losing his sense of composure.

Typical stress interview questions

The kinds of questions asked in stress interviews vary. The interviewer may try to put the candidate “on the spot” by inquiring about his personal opinions about various things, such as “How do feel this interview is going for you?”; or he may put in some “oddball” questions like “What would you want to see changed about so-and-so?” or again, questions that indicate doubt as to the honesty and sincerity of the candidate, by repeating earlier ones in a more emphatic and demanding fashion.

Interviewers are very creative when it comes to finding ways to put pressure on their interviewees. They may pile one question upon another without even waiting for a response to each one.

How to succeed in a stress interview

Passing a stress interview can often spell the difference between being accepted and rejected for the position for which one is applying. For that reason, it is crucial to know how to comport yourself during this phase of the screening process.

The first thing to do before the interview is to turn off your smartphone if you have one on you. Having to constantly interrupt the conversation to talk to somebody else does not create an impression of a person who conducts himself in a professional manner.

You should always speak in a medium tone of voice, not to softly or too loudly. Never hesitate before giving a response, but also do not speak too slowly. Throughout the interview, keep your eyes on the person who is conducting it and give him your undivided attention.

Take a deep breath between each answer so that you can give one that is clear enough to be understood. Remain calm from the beginning to the end of the interview. The last thing that you want is to appear confused or embarrassed. Likewise, avoid losing your temper; some of the questions that they ask are meant to be irritating, which is also part of the test. The saying goes, “Lose your temper, lose control”—and you always want to appear to be in control. If you find yourself on the verge of losing it, imagine the interviewer as a bunny rabbit or other harmless animal.

Above all, respond to every question with an answer that is as honest as you can give. But do not give the interviewer too much detail; give only the information that he asks for, otherwise he will use your words as an excuse to find fault with you.

It might help you if you could compile a list of questions that you think you might be ask. Try to think of what answers you will give to them, and in that way you can be prepared for what you are to be put through. Employers value preparedness in their employees as much as anything else.

Interviewers may also ask questions that seem to be completely irrelevant to the job you are seeking. Should that happen, do not point that out to them, but as always try to answer them as honestly as you can. If there is something that you do not understand, then do not be afraid to ask and get clarification. When it comes to jobs, the only stupid questions are the ones you fail to ask.

Some people are naturally nervous, and often especially so when being interviewed for a job—they may be afraid that they will not be accepted. For such people, the tips given above are quite valuable. It is the person who is surest of himself that potential employers value the most and are most likely to hire.

A few words of caution

Setting up a stress interview requires a great deal of judgment. It is especially valuable if the job for which the interviewee is applying will be a high pressure one—such as at a fast food restaurant—but those in charge do not want to create an atmosphere of permanent hostility, because somebody who qualifies perfectly for the position may decide not to take it because of the interview process.

Last words

In the final analysis, the end purpose of every job interview is the same—to assess the abilities and personality of the candidate. A stress interview is simply another part of that attempt to make the assessment. This is the first time that the people you will be working for have met you, so how you behave at this stage is what will determine what they think of you in the future. Remember—you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

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