- Tell us something about yourself that is not here on the resume?
- How would you feel if you were rejected in this interview?
- Why haven’t you achieved more in your career?
- How would you rate yourself on your performance in your previous role?
- What would you change about a postbox?
- I don’t understand how you stand out from the other candidates. What new can you bring to the table?
- Can you explain your answer clearly?
- You don’t have relevant experience and we only hire experienced professionals. Why should we hire you?
- How many steps did you take while walking through the door to the chair?
- If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?
- Tips to ace stress interviews
Organizations across the globe practice different interviewing methods to choose professionals who can add value.
One such commonly practiced type of interview is the stress interview.
Stress interviews analytically evaluate the candidate’s ability to perform under pressure in unexpected situations.
If you are preparing to ace a stress interview, this blog is for you.
Here are 10 crucial stress interview questions with sample answers and tips to crack stress interviews like a pro.
Tell us something about yourself that is not here on the resume?
Interviewers ask this question to analyze your suitability for the organization.
Points of discussion could be personal achievements, unique qualities, and acquired skills that are relevant to the job profile.
I’m a team player, always trying to work towards the betterment of the organization. My curiosity drives me to do more than what is expected of me.
For instance, I was previously working as a product developer but I possess knowledge of software QA as well. So, during one of the product launches, I extended a helping hand to the tech team.
I was later made an integral part of the QA team, for which I worked on my time without compromising on my core job.
How would you feel if you were rejected in this interview?
This is a frequently asked stress interview question that evaluates your ability to handle rejection.
Even though you may feel a little taken aback, staying calm and confident is the key.
Take a few seconds to gather your thoughts and respond to show your ability to accept rejection with respect and grace.
I would love to work with your organization and getting selected for this job would be ideal.
However, if I do not get selected, I would respect your decision. Furthermore, I would try to identify the areas of improvement and work towards overcoming shortcomings.
Why haven’t you achieved more in your career?
Stress interview questions may often seem personal, and even rude. Interviewers ask this question to assess your belief in yourself and your work.
The key is to not take it personally and answer with confidence.
Claiming that your success is enough reflects overconfidence while saying that you have under-achieved may leave a negative impact.
Try to establish a balance between confidence and modesty.
Try using this opportunity to discuss your achievements. Make sure you do it subtly without sounding boastful.
I believe no kind of achievement is ever enough. A person should always have the zeal to achieve much more in life.
I have always tried to deliver my best and have enjoyed success now and then.
For instance, in my previous company, I was awarded the “Most Valuable Player” for my efforts towards process development.
I was also promoted in a year and a half to work on more agile projects.
I don’t think my achievements are less, but I do believe that there’s a lot more I’m yet to achieve in the future.
How would you rate yourself on your performance in your previous role?
This is a frequently asked stress interview question and can be tricky to answer.
Rating yourself highly may reflect overconfidence while a low rating could leave a poor impression.
To answer effectively, understand the equilibrium between self-confidence and self-awareness.
Rate yourself with a number that you can well justify with experiences and achievements.
I would rate myself 7 on a scale of 1-10 based on my leadership and time management skills, ability to meet set objectives and troubleshooting capabilities.
I’m not a 10 because with every project I work on, I learn about areas of improvement to perform better.
I think I know how to work well under pressure without compromising on quality but there is still a lot more to learn.
What would you change about a postbox?
Interviewers ask such out of context questions to assess your ability to handle pressure and deal with unforeseen situations.
Take a minute to gather your thoughts, ask for more time if required.
Suggest changes that would increase the efficiency of the product in question.
Avoid answering with unnecessary changes that do not add real value.
The main purpose of a postbox is to collect mails to be sent out to different locations.
Since people just drop their letters in the postbox, there is no solid record of the sender and recipient, which can lead to loss of mails.
I think making a postbox equipped with digitally sound systems to record the details can solve this problem effectively.
This would reduce the chances of letters getting lost and will also make the tracking system reliable.
I don’t understand how you stand out from the other candidates. What new can you bring to the table?
Interviewers ask this question to identify a candidate's unique skills and capability to bring new perspectives.
Research in-depth about the organization and understand their niche and objective.
Read through the job description and identify the meeting points between the skills required and the skills you possess.
Make sure that your answer is uniquely creative. Talking points can be skills, relevant experience and passion to work towards organizational objectives.
I have the required experience and understand the challenges well.
I have worked on similar projects in the past and have delivered fruitful results.
I’m a team player and know how to work under pressure. I have a proven record of never missing a deadline.
I believe my creative zeal and knack to innovate makes me stand out from others.
I can assure you that my perspective and skills will prove to be an asset to your company and hiring me is a decision you will not regret.
Can you explain your answer clearly?
Interviewers may ask you to start over after you have answered their question or even in the middle of your answer.
This is to evaluate how well you deal with an interruption and if you can work on communicating the same idea repetitively without getting frustrated.
To reply effectively,
- Maintain a calm and composed demeanor.
- Do not change your stance or answer.
- Politely confirm if there was a particular part that they did not understand or the entire answer.
In either case, it is better that you answer from the beginning.
This will reflect your willingness to explain the same thing whenever asked and will also help you build the flow.
Sure Sir/Ma’am! Is there anything in particular that I should explain in detail or do you want me to start over?
You don’t have relevant experience and we only hire experienced professionals. Why should we hire you?
This question is for inexperienced individuals starting their careers or changing fields.
Interviewers ask this question to understand why you think you are fit for a job profile without relevant experience.
Make a list of your qualities and discuss your skills and strengths in accordance.
Convincing talking points are
- Required skillset
- Eagerness to learn
- Ability to meet the gap between previous job roles (if any) and the profile in question.
Do mention relevant internships, experiences, and situations that could help you justify your suitability.
I understand that there are not many professional achievements to my credit, but I'm confident that I would be a good fit for this profile.
I was the President of the college debate society and have the experience of executing smooth and seamless events.
Quick problem solving, ability to meet deadlines and perform under pressure makes me a perfect fit for this opportunity.
I'm eager to learn practical technicalities and explore my potential.
If hired, I can ensure you that I would aim to deliver the very best for your organization.
Also read: How To Answer "Why Should I Hire You?"
How many steps did you take while walking through the door to the chair?
This stress interview question aims at evaluating your wit and presence of mind.
Answer confidently and do not let panic or stress take the best of you.
Remember, the interviewer is looking for an intuitive approach and not the exact number of steps.
Ask for more clarification if possible. This shows your curiosity and will help you understand the situation better.
If you can not think of anything, answer with an approximate number, keeping in mind the distance and the way you walk.
In case the interviewer is not convinced, you can offer to demonstrate to cover the distance again in the number of steps you mentioned.
This will reflect your ability to handle problems with a logical reason and your confidence in your stance.
Sample Answer 1
Do you want to know the number of steps it took me from the main office door to the chair? Or the cabin door?
Sample Answer 2
I believe it took me 6 steps to reach the chair from the cabin’s door. Do you want me to demonstrate?
Sample Answer 3
I walked the same number of steps that I will walk from the chair to the door to go out.
If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?
This stress interview question evaluates your perspective and creativity.
It helps the interviewer understand your ability to deal with unexpected situations.
Give an answer that you relate to and justify it with reasons and personal experiences.
In case you cannot think of an answer, borrow some time to think about it.
That is a very interesting question. If I were a box of cereal, I would be fruit loops.
As a kid, I loved fruit loops and I have many memories with it. I love how the cereal has a colorful and unique taste and shape.
It catches the eye of a person and every colored loop differs in taste, bringing a sense of variety.
Also read: 60 Basic Interview Questions And Answers
Tips to ace stress interviews
Stress interview questions can be tricky to answer and may test you at your best. Here are a few tips to help you ace stress interviews like a pro:
- Focus on research
Research to understand the mission, vision, and work-culture of the company.
Basic information like the size, future goals, and current products/services of the organization can help you answer strategically.
Try to read through the reviews of employees working with the organization to get a better perspective.
- Keep calm, do not panic
Stress interview, true to its name, can be stressful. Do not let that affect your attitude.
Take a minute to respond to questions that baffle you and plan before you answer.
In case you are blank and can't think of anything, ask the interviewer for some time.
- Identify the objective of the question
It is very important to know why a question is being asked.
Understanding the objective of the question will help you understand the nature and tone that you should answer in.
- Balance your responses
Stress interview questions can be spontaneous and unexpected but they help the interviewers assess your intuitiveness and skills.
When in a stress interview, do not get defensive, but don't give in either as doing so may reflect poorly on your candidature.
Aim to sound confident and smart, without seeming boastful and arrogant.
- Ask questions
Stress interview questions evaluate your ability to perform in the worst scenarios.
Asking questions to respond to the interviewer's question showcases your ability to think critically and helps you clarify doubts if any.
- Give logically sound answers
Through stress interviews, interviewers focus on analyzing your capability to work under stress and assess your logical reasoning.
Answer to reflect confidence but ensure that everything you say is relevant.
Try to give answers that showcase skills and experiences that are relevant to the profile.
- Maintain a positive body language
A positive body language portrays you as a confident, smart and nice candidate who is ready to face any challenge, come what may.
Maintain a positive demeanor to show that you are open to questions through your body language and smile!
Also read: Interview Body Language Do's And Don’ts