Get in contact Free Trial

Interview questions about stress management

Use these interview questions about stress management and find out how candidates handle challenging and complicated situations in their day-to-day work.

Why you should ask candidates about stress management

Most jobs have their stressful moments, such as hitting a quarterly target, presenting an idea, or meeting a tight deadline to name but a few. Employees with good stress management skills are an asset because they:

  • can make objective decisions;
  • can keep themselves and those around them calm; and
  • can propose solutions to problems in challenging times.

If employees are unable to handle stressful situations, they might well have problems doing their work properly even though they actually fit the job specification. Some positions, such as managerial roles, are more stressful than others. It’s therefore important to spot candidates who can cope with this stress and still remain productive.

Here are a few interview questions that you can ask your candidates about stress management. Combine these questions with those on problem-solving and communication skills.

Sample interview questions about stress management

  • It’s the day before an important presentation to customers/supervisors/stakeholders. How do you prepare?
  • How would you react if a supervisor gave you negative feedback in front of your colleagues?
  • What’s been the most stressful situation you’ve ever encountered? What did you do?
  • How do you prevent a situation from becoming too stressful?
  • What advice would you give a colleague who’s very stressed about a deadline?
  • Can you tell me about a time when stress caused you to make mistakes in your work?
  • How would you handle frequent changes in your workplace? For example, if people involved in a project were undecided about its requirements, or if a new member joined your team.
  • If you are assigned several tasks at the same time, how do you organize yourself so that you can work as productively and efficiently as possible to meet your submission deadline?
  • Tell me about a difficult decision that you had to make (e.g. letting a team member go or choosing between two job offers). How did you make sure you were being objective?
  • How do you make sure that stressful situations in your personal life do not affect your performance at work?

Tips for assessing candidates’ stress management skills

  • Use interview questions that focus on both different behaviors and different situations. This lets you find out how candidates have coped with stressful situations in the past as well as how they would tackle such situations in their new role.
  • Asking generic questions like “How do you handle stress?” will get you generic answers. You should therefore ask about specific examples or experiences.
  • Use realistic examples in your questions. If you are looking for sales staff, for instance, ask how candidates would tackle the most common customer problems.
  • Compare your candidates’ answers with the problems that crop up most frequently in the job role. Rather than only looking out for applicants who propose the best potential solutions, also consider those who can stay composed in unexpected circumstances.
  • Many candidates will have prepared for a question about a stressful situation. You should therefore use your conversation as an opportunity to test their capacity for stress management. Do applicants seem uncomfortable when you ask them tricky questions, or do they stay calm?
  • Don’t jump to conclusions if candidates appear ill at ease at the start – interview situations can be stressful. However, if candidates are unable to shake off their initial nervousness during the interview, you should consider whether the person is actually suited to the job – particularly if it requires frequent contact with other people.

Warning signs

  • Applicants get fixated on the source of the stress. Finding out what is responsible for the stress is only the first step. Candidates who only focus on the cause and not the solution may well struggle to handle stressful situations.
  • Applicants generate stress themselves. Bad habits, such as procrastination or poor time management, can give rise to unnecessarily stressful situations. Recruit employees who find ways out of situations like these and do not create them in the first place.
  • Applicants get stressed by small things. Pay attention to what gets candidates stressed. If they give you a list of routine minor tasks rather than sizable challenges, this may pose a problem for many job roles.
  • Applicants’ body language suggests discomfort. Put a few tricky yet realistic problems in front of candidates. If they get flustered trying to find solutions, this might indicate that they are easily stressed.
  • Applicants have never experienced stress. Most people will have come across stress at some point in their working lives. If candidates claim to never be stressed, this could be a sign that they treat problems lightly.

That could be of interest to you

Google for Jobs arrived in Germany and Switzerland Prescreen Whitepaper Google for Jobs
Google for Jobs arrived in Germany and Switzerland

Recruiters keep asking themselves about Google for Jobs – what effect does the function have, for example, on searches for candidates? We have summarized the most important information for ...

Diversity in Recruiting Prescreen Diversität
Diversity in Recruiting

Nowadays, recruiting and diversity management are inextricably linked. The company ultimately decides which candidate is best suited to a vacancy during the application process. This step is crucial to ...

HR Controlling in 2019 Prescreen HR-Controlling
HR Controlling in 2019

Nowadays, controlling is also an integral part of the recruiting process, in line with the motto “Trust is good, controlling is better.” Therefore, you need particular KPIs (key performance ...

5 steps to finding the right applicant tracking software Prescreen Bewerbermanagement Software
5 steps to finding the right applicant tracking software

Every company needs to find the right employees to be successful. However, setbacks and problems often occur during the recruiting process, slowing it down or making it difficult to ...

Goodbye talent shortage, hello active recruiting! Prescreen Active Recruiting Lösung
Goodbye talent shortage, hello active recruiting!

The prevalent lack of talented specialists poses challenges for recruiters on a daily basis. It makes it even more difficult to find the right person for the job. Things ...

GDPR and recruiting: the rights and obligations of recruiters and applicants Prescreen DSGVO Recruiting
GDPR and recruiting: the rights and obligations of recruiters and applicants

The new EU general data protection regulation (abbreviated “GDPR”) is approaching rapidly. For most, if not all, companies, this means changes need to be made to their way of ...

The problem with job portals Prescreen Jobbörsen
The problem with job portals

You might well think that the number is overwhelming, but in truth, the jungle of job portals in German-speaking countries is not yet all that complex. However, recruiters are ...

Fair Recruiting Prescreen Faires Recruiting
Fair Recruiting

There are many different sides to fair HR work. When choosing to hire new employees, the requirements differ in every culture, industry and company. Many factors dictate whether you ...

FREE & NON-BINDING

Get in contact with our e-recruiting specialists now!

I hereby subscribe to the Prescreen newsletter and agree to receive news from the Prescreen HR magazine, event invitations and information about Prescreen's services and products. I have read and understood the privacy policy. My consent can be revoked at any time.