How to handle a stressful interview

February 5, 2015 2 mins read
How to handle a stressful interview

How to handle stress in an interview is a very different topic from being asked how do you handle pressure during an interview.

Stressful interviews are an unconventional way to see how candidates react to unexpected circumstances under pressure. Such as, a recruiter might introduce himself, start reading a newspaper and ignore a candidate for minutes; or the interviewer may suddenly raise his voice with difficult questions. A candidate might sit silently and awkwardly, growing angry or being fearful. Under or overreacting could ruin an interview. 

Normally employers who run stressful interviews want neither a shy person lacking the confidence to speak up for him or herself nor someone who is rude and overaggressive.

So what should you do to handle these stressful interviews?

After a short time, a calm, unflappable job seeker might politely suggest another time for the interview with a clear response: ”If you don’t have time now, I would be happy to speak with you on another occasion.”

When an interviewer suddenly raises his or her voice and throws some harsh questions, a candidate with a composed disposition, still remains focus on the key point of questions, and responds calmly and clearly to the questions. While no one can prepare for every interview, make sure you know what’s expected of you in general terms.

There will always be the random interviewers who just want to make you uncomfortable. Just take a few breaths and try to roll with the punches. More often than not, all that’s being tested in a stress interview is your ability to prove your wits about you.

Regardless of the questions asked and the methods used by an interview, keep in mind you are being assessed on how you handle a situation. Stay cool and be prepared for anything.

Marlon Mai's picture
Marlon Mai
Managing Director, Greater China
mmai@morganmckinley.com