How To Answer “How Do You Handle Stress?” (2021)

Do you have an upcoming job interview? Make sure you know how to answer the “How do you handle stress?” interview question! Other examples with similar answers include “How do you handle conflict?“, “Can you work under pressure?“, “How do you deal with stressful situations?” or “Tell me about a time when you have completed a difficult task under pressure“. 

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Example Answer (No Experience)

“Although I experience some discomfort, I can actually handle it quite well. A recent example of this is when my former teacher asked me to deliver a presentation to around [X] students with [X] hours notice. To alleviate the pressure I broke the presentation down into smaller pieces.

First off, I identified the objective of the presentation and how to convey it to my fellow students. I then wrote a script and created the visuals using Google Slides. After that, I liaised with the school’s janitor to test the speakers and beamer. On the day of the presentation, I rehearsed a couple of times until I felt prepared.

I won’t deny that I felt nervous, but the presentation was well received and my team received the highest grade because of my presentation. This experience taught me that I am capable of handling stressful situations when I simply break a challenging task up into pieces.”

Example Answer (With Experience)

“Oh, I actually handle it very well. A recent example of this is when my former manager asked me to deliver a presentation to around [X] people with [X] hours notice. To alleviate the pressure I broke the presentation down into smaller pieces.

Firstly, I identified the objective of the event and the participants’ goals and needs. After that, I wrote a script and created the slides using [Software]. I then liaised with IT support to test the audio and visual equipment, and on the day of the presentation I rehearsed a couple of times until I felt prepared. 

The result was, even though I felt nervous, the presentation was well received and management requested me to deliver another presentation on [Topic]. Besides the fact that I felt great about what happened, It taught me that I am capable of handling stressful situations when I simply break a challenging project up into pieces.”

Interview Question Tips

  • Do tell how stress affects you and how you deal with it
  • Do mention an example (project, exam or presentation)
  • Don’t dwell or say anything negative about yourself