Stress Interview

A stress interview is designed to reveal how an applicant operates and reacts within various levels of applied anxiety.  Yes, this conversation is geared to intimidate!  The interviewer may seem overly aggressive, gruff, disinterested or intimidating.  Your answers may be challenged and opinions dissected for relevance.  At some point, the visit seems like a confrontation simply probing for information.  The employer's voice and pitch of volume may be used as part of this strategy.  Even silence can cause stress.  Having someone pause between questions can certainly upset an individual's train of thought.  Interviewers may alter the setting and interview space.  The room temperature may be adjusted, the room may seem overly formal and furniture decor uncomfortable.  Everything in the room, including the interviewer, are designed to add / induce stress.  

The questions may seem overly difficult and often tricky.  A series of straight forward questions may come quickly with a "ringer" statement soon to follow.  This statement may be in the form of an opinionated final thought or a question with little relevance meant to disengage a person's channel of thought.

Such tactics are common when interviewing for challenging jobs or high-level managerial / pressured situations. 

Regarding a Stress Interview -

Playing to your Strength - This type of interview plays to the favor of those able to think on their feet with confidence.  Individuals can showcase their abilities to creatively asset answers rather than recall memorized answers.  Some applicant perform very well under these circumstances.  

Watch Out - Individuals not comfortable with confrontation and uncomfortable settings may find this interview difficult.  The questions will seem over the top and overbearing.  A stress interview should to be confused with a manager which is simply having a "bad day" or just hates conducting interviews.

  • Balance your demeanor between seeming overly relaxed and formally stiff.  In either situation, you'll be challenged and confronted to your level of adjustment.  Its important to proceed as if nothing is wrong, under an variety of settings you find yourself. 
  • Never panic under this line of questioning.  No matter how difficult the questions seem or how irritated the employer becomes, keep composed and remain calm.  The interviewers main objective is to determine your vulnerabilities not the solution to softball questions.
  • Use the silence between questions to compose yourself and reflect silently upon answer choices.  Don't let this pause rattle your comfort level.  Always come back with a confident and positive answer.
  • If given a mind-teaser question, think on your feet with creativity.  The manager is not looking for the right answer.  He or she is searching for your ability to reflect and have fun with thought problems.