Some jobs deal with stressful situations more frequently than others. Depending on the job order, you might consider asking stress interview questions to find out how candidates react under pressure.
You shouldn’t conduct a stress interview for every type of position. Stress interviews can put candidates on edge and, in some cases, give them a bad impression of your client’s company.
Learn why stress interviews are used, when to implement them, and which stress-based interview questions to ask.
What is the purpose of a stress interview?
Stress interviews test a candidate’s ability to handle stress. Stress interviews go beyond just asking candidates how they handle stress. They actually put the stress on candidates by creating an uncomfortable environment. Stress interviews and related questions give you insight into how a candidate would react to stressful situations on the job.
Positions may be considered stressful for a number of reasons. Employees might have to reach deadlines, do physically demanding labor, deal with the public, or have significant responsibilities.
According to CBS News, some of the most stressful jobs in 2018 include public relations executives, event coordinators, and service-based positions (e.g., military, police officers, firefighters). Keep in mind that there are many more types of positions where employees experience stress.
Adding a stress interview to your recruitment process can show you and your client whether the candidate has the necessary qualifications and personality to handle the rigorous expectations of the job. Your client doesn’t want to hire a candidate who is qualified and looks great on paper but crumbles under pressure.
Stress interview techniques
Conducting stress interviews is not for the faint of heart. If your goal is to conduct a stress interview, make sure you keep to it. You might feel rude and uncomfortable when you implement common stress interview techniques, but you can’t be wishy-washy.
Stress interviews aren’t the time to play good cop, bad cop. You need to start with bad cop and carry it through until you have all the answers and information you need on the candidate.
Some stressful situations examples include sighing or interrupting candidates while they are talking. Or, you might act aloof by not paying attention to the candidate. Another strategy is repeating the same question multiple times to compare the candidate’s answers or see if they begin getting frustrated. Some interviewers ask obscure questions about random topics they don’t expect candidates to know the answers to.
You can also convey a stressful environment through your body language. For example, you might refuse to shake the candidate’s hand or avoid making eye contact.
Stress interview questions
A huge part of creating a stress interview is knowing what questions to ask. You might decide to incorporate stress interview questions into a non-stress interview. You could ask a mix of traditional interview questions, behavioral interview questions, and stress interview questions.
Here are some job interview stress questions you might ask candidates. You can ask these questions or draw on these questions to create your own.
1. You don’t have enough experience for this position. Tell me why my client should hire you.
2. Why were you fired from [Company]?
3. Do you think you’re doing well in this interview?
4. How many other companies are interested in you?
5. Do co-workers have a difficult time working with you? Why?
6. How much plastic is in the ocean?
7. I don’t think you adequately answered the question. Could you give me a better answer?
8. Pretend I’m a customer who just created a scene and verbally insulted you. Show me how you would handle the situation.
9. Was the stress of a previous position too much for you? Why do you think this job will be any different?
10. How well do you think I’m interviewing you?
11. I don’t understand your answer. Can you please explain it differently?
12. How do you handle stress?
13. Can you handle putting in a couple hours of overtime after a busy, stressful day? Could you be productive the rest of the day?
14. Tell me about a time when you didn’t reach a goal. Why not? Would the same thing happen at this company?
15. Sell me this [object] in one minute. Time starts now.
As you can see, many of these questions are aggressive, stress inducing, and seemingly frivolous. However, stress interview questions can reveal what you need to know about a candidate’s ability to handle stressful situations.