Can You Work Under Pressure?

No matter what career field you enter, pressure is going to be an aspect of it. When an interviewer asks, “Can you work under pressure” he or she is looking for more than just a simple “Yes” or “No” answer.

First, the hiring manager is trying to see if you understand the differences between pressure and stress. Pressure should be viewed as a positive motivator while stress is negative and harmful when it occurs too often. Next, the employer will want to hear about an example of a time you were under pressure and rose to the occasion to complete a task. This is a great question to bring up your past experiences.

Points to Emphasize

Bringing up relevant skills and experiences is an excellent way to address this question so that the hiring manager does not think you are just answering “Yes” purely because you think that is the best answer.

  • Discuss a time when you were under pressure to finish something and succeeded

  • Talk about how pressure makes you a better worker

  • Relate your past experiences to what will be expected of you in this new position

  • Recognize the fact that pressure is in fact a part of the job

    There is nothing wrong with feeling pressured, and some people actually thrive under it. Assure the interviewer that when things get tough, you will be able to handle it.

    Mistakes You Should Avoid

    Although feeling pressured is not ideal, you still need to tackle it head-on, and avoid falling into these common traps and mistakes when asked this question.

  • Don’t say that there has never been a time where you felt pressure

  • Don’t confuse pressure with stress and talk about a time you were overly stressed out

  • Avoid talking about a time where feeling pressured was a result of your own actions

    • Don’t portray pressure in a negative light

    It is okay to feel pressure every now and then, and a hiring manager will want to know that when a lot is being put on your plate, you will face it with enthusiasm.

    Sample Answer

    When confronted with this question, a good answer will look like this:

    I consistently work under pressure in my current position, and I feel like I have become a better worker because of it. Through my previous experiences, I will be able to react well to any situation that I come across in this position and be a true asset to the organization.

    An employer will want to know how you will react to various circumstances of the job, and by answering honestly, you will be showing them to you are best-qualified for the position.

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