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    8 Stress Management Interview Questions You Should Ask Potential Employees

    8 Stress Management Interview Questions You Should Ask Potential Employees

    March 25, 2022

    Did you know that seventy-four percent of employers think they hired the wrong person? These "bad hires" cost employers almost $15,000 per person.

    Although hiring goes wrong for one reason or another, many employers find that stress management is a missing skill. How can you assess how well a candidate handles stress?

    To answer that question, here are eight questions on stress management that you can ask during interviews. That way, you can hire employees you feel great about and reduce the cost of turnover.

    Why You Should Ask Stress Management Questions

    As employers, we often look first at a candidate's qualifications. These are the skills sets we see on the resume. 

    However, it's almost impossible to tell someone's reaction to stress by just looking at their resume. All those skills don't mean much if stress gets in the way of them using those skills well.

    Beyond what you see on paper, someone's reaction to stress will affect how they interact with people. The worst-case scenario is that they disrupt the balance of work culture.

    The Psychology of Stress

    From a psychological standpoint, stress triggers a fight or flight response. In other words, the hormones that our body releases in stressful situations will prompt us to either shrink away from the conflict or stay put and fight.

    Depending on their personality, a person will gravitate toward one of these two responses. Unfortunately, too much of one or the other isn't ideal.

    For example, someone who prefers a fight response may be combative and place blame on others. Someone with a flight response, however, may fall into passivity or avoid the problem altogether.

    A candidate with emotional intelligence will handle the issue with self-control and grace. Otherwise, this person will avoid responsibility, and the collateral damage in the workplace can be catastrophic.

    However, it isn't enough to ask, "How Do You Handle Stress?"

    If you directly ask questions about coping with stress, the interviewee may give you a generic answer. Worse, they may tell you what you want to hear, and the answer isn't genuine.

    Instead, ask questions that put them in those stressful situations.

    1. What Would Your Response Be If Your Boss Criticized You in Front of Others?

    Whether this public criticism is warranted or not, most don't like being put on the spot. In fact, some people might feel anxious in this situation.

    It's one of the best stressful interview questions to ask because it causes them to assess stressful work situations that they've had in the past. Will they snap back? Will they act unresponsive? 

    2. When Was a Time That Stress Caused You to Make Mistakes at Work?

    When it comes to stress interview questions, some candidates may feel like they need to hide past mistakes. Asking this question will remind them that mistakes are human. We all make them at one time or another.

    What you're looking for is a pattern. You want to see how well a candidate can bounce back. If the stress gets the best of them, their job performance will suffer.

    3. How Do You Keep Stress From Your Personal Life From Spilling Over into Your Work Life?

    Not all stress is work-related. Unfortunately, it's easy to let personal problems build up so much, that it affects our work life.

    Now, we don't want to encourage anyone to stuff their emotions. However, they still need to be professional in the workplace. Better yet, they should have some strategies for coping or compartmentalizing.

    4. How Do You Organize For Multiple Tasks That All Have Tight Deadlines?

    This is one of those questions about stress that reveals more than emotional intelligence. It tells you how serious they are about deadlines and how good they are at multi-tasking.

    It will also give you a preview of their organizational style.

    5. How How Are You at Working with People with Different Personalities?

    As we covered earlier, stress management job interview questions should cover all your bases. This is because stress can negatively impact how we treat people, too.

    Is this person easy to get along with? If you want this question to be more pointed, ask them to describe a time in which they didn't get along with someone. What was the root of the issue, and how did they address it?

    You want an employee who can deal with disagreeable people directly and respectfully.

    6. Have You Ever Been Late on a Deadline? What Were the Circumstances, and How Did You Respond?

    Again, employers know that employees will fall short sometimes. Sometimes there are genuine reasons that they can't meet that deadline.

    Are they missing deadlines because they lack initiative? Are they unwilling to ask for help? If so, then that's a major red flag.

    7. How Are You at Adapting to a Fast-Paced Work Environment?

    Some industries come with constant change and little consistency. If yours is one of these industries, then you'll want to know if your candidate can roll with the punches.

    As a follow-up question, ask them what kind of work environment they feel like they thrive in. Some people perform better in stable work conditions. They prefer when the schedule is set, and they know what to expect on a daily basis. 

    8. Describe A Time That You Had to Take on An Extra Work Load. What Were the Results?

    Of all the stress management job interview questions, this is the one that tests their work ethic. Were they assigned this extra workload? Did they pick up the slack because they were understaffed?

    Whatever the reason, these questions on stress management will show how willing a candidate is to step up to the plate. A candidate who is willing to subject themself to the stress of multiple projects is a keeper.

    Questions on Stress Management

    Hiring the wrong person for your job opening is one of the most costly mistakes you can make as a hiring manager. Thankfully, there are questions on stress management that can help you narrow down your search.

    If you have any questions about HR or need payroll support, contact Ignite HCM today.

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