A Stress Interview Can Be "Brutal"

A stress interview is another part of the job search you must be prepared for, if you want to get a job offer.

Here is what happens in a stress interview. Soon after you sit down, relax, and are asked a few basic or introductory questions, the interviewer starts rapidly firing tough questions at you, sometimes in a hostile tone of voice. The interviewer may start challenging or criticizing everything you say. Under normal circumstances, this would be considered rude and ignorant and you would feel mortified and defensive, but, if you are prepared, you will shine in this situation.

In a stress interview, the interviewer is testing you to see how you act under pressure. The ability to handle this sort of pressure is a must for many positions, especially those that involve working in the public eye with demanding clients (a "pressure cooker" environment). Don't make the mistake of taking this personally; stand your ground and do not let yourself be intimidated. Look upon this as an opportunity to rise to the challenge and respond in a level-headed, confident, and professional manner.

Whatever you do, do not match the attitude of the interviewer by becoming defensive and argumentative. You will notice that the interviewer reverts to his or her original demeanour after the interrogation. He or she was only doing a job; the intent is to disqualify candidates who are not able to handle pressure.

The reason that the stress interview is used so frequently is that it gets results. It gives the interviewer a realistic sense of the candidate's response to difficult situations, and this is not possible using a standard set of questions.

The best way to handle a stress interview is to anticipate and prepare thoroughly for it, so that responding becomes natural. This is where a Career Coach can really help you! Call us to help you practice.

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Candace Davies ACCC, CRW, CIC, CPRW, CEIP, CECC
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