Stress and Pressure Questions

Q:

Tell us about a time when you missed a significant deadline

Answer

Tell us about a time when you missed a deadline.


(or)


Let's discuss a time when you missed a significant deadline.


If you answer something like "You never missed a deadline". Most interviewers will immediately conclude you are not experienced and may also feel you are lying. 


Approach - It is absolutely necessary to accept that you have missed a deadline and give reasons how you resolved and what you learned from it. This will demonstrate your experience.


You could say in one of the first projects earlier in your career you missed an important deadline and made the boss very upset. It was a great learning experience and after doing some introspection, you realized, you could have done better planning, prioritization and communication. Now, you use special tools, processes and methods to address these issues. Now your team, colleagues and management are always up to date so no surprises arise on meeting deadlines. 


Below are few things you may emphasize on in your response...


Effective planning


Procedural Improvements


Better Prioritization


Open communication


Better Status reporting

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Q:

How do you handle stress?

Answer

How do you handle stress?

Wrong approach -
Do not say you are never under stress or I hate stress or you do exercise and meditation to take care of stress. Focus strictly on professional things that you do.

Right approach -
A good response is to say that pressure helps you focus and maintain your drive and like to handle challenges. Explain that some of your best efforts are the result of stress and pressure. Also inform that when pressure gets too intense, you know how to handle it.

Example -
Stress and pressure are a challenging part of the job and i know how to handle it. I handle it by focusing on proper planning and reporting, better time management, open communication, Hard work and prioritization.

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Q:

Do you work well under pressure?

Answer

In most cases, the best answer to this question is answering yes. Working well under pressure is a good trait to have. However, I think if you answer that you work the same with pressure and without pressure, the interviewer will be more impressed. However, you will need to explain in words why this is better. Here are some of my answers.


1. "I work well under pressure because I use the pressure to help me work more efficiently."


2. "I enjoy working under pressure because I believe it helps me grow. In my previous experience, I always worked well during deadlines, and I always learned how to work more efficiently afterwards."


3. "I work well under pressure because I don't panic. I maintain self control and work as efficiently as possible. In all my experiences, I did well and I always enjoyed the experience."

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Q:

What do you do when things do not go as planned ?

Answer
This question will gauge your ability to adapt to certain situations. Interviewers ask this question because they want to know how well you can manage problems and changes at work. This is necessary because changes happen in the workplace and those who show adaptability and flexibility are the ones who are still able to perform well in spite of the change. The interviewer, therefore, will give plus points to candidates who are able to prove that they possess these qualities. They are looking for people who are able to respond quickly and positively to changes and unexpected demands.

 

 A lot of people might be tempted to simply say, "I have never had problems when things do not go as planned" or worse, "I have never experienced that before". The first answer is fine as long as you are able to provide a supporting answer to it and be able to really show that you are, in fact, someone who can easily adjust yourself when changes occur. On the other hand, saying you have never had any experience on the matter would only make the interviewer think of how naive you are, which is not really going to help you land in the job. 

 

It is recommended that you summarize your answer in one sentence and then expound further later on. Answers such as "When things do not go as planned, the first thing I do is to take a deep breath and tell myself it will be okay". An answer like this can immediately give the interviewer an idea that you are a levelheaded person who knows how to handle situations properly.
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