Presently almost 90% of interviews are happening virtually. The interviewer could only see your face and it is difficult to judge your body language. Earlier in face2face round, one could easily map from physical gestures the stress level & reaction to uncomfortable questions.
In my career as an HR leader with corporates, I have taken many interviews. Most interviewers use stress techniques to assess the mental ability of the candidates to deliver under pressure.
Working from remote locations is not easy, more so, managing a large team where stress may work as a deterrent to delivering quality on schedule. Hence, the ability to keep the mind tranquil while dealing with an unfavorable situation has emerged as a no-compromising trait of a leader in line.
It is no more a fad to talk about work-life balance. All of us consciously tried handling work and life at the same time, however, work always took away the gleam. Life became a second priority. The adoption of virtual offices made the imbalance in work-life more glaring.
It is critical to judge the shift in attitude, mindset, and body language of a candidate in circumstances of stress and chaos. About 75% of the candidates fail during stress interview rounds, more so, if the questions are tricky, one gets into the web of answers that put the candidate in a tight spot.
Let me share some strategies to deal with stress interviews.
1. Realizing that you are pushed into an uncomfortable situation sooner the better. Stress questions take some time to build up, and it never comes as a surprise. If you are attentive, you will know how the questioning pattern is getting altered. Mostly interviewer contradicts your statement.
If you struggle to prove your point, you may get dragged into contradiction. The circumstances of one version against another may worsen the conversation. Try to avoid it, instead rephrase your answer, like “you got it almost right, I actually mean…” so here you are not challenging the interviewer but putting one’s response in a perspective that is closure to yours.
This strategy of answering stress questions needs practice & control over your emotions.
2. Do not jump with an answer. It is a normal human tendency to contradict an adverse view to prove own point within no time. The interviewer plays the same trick.
What does a hiring manager expect from a candidate? The person should have a balanced approach, can hold patience, and speak from the mind. Working remotely is a new normal but it has many fallacies. The stress is more than before, and it has an equal effect on our level of patience.
One needs to practice maintaining sanity while answering tricky questions, here patience plays a big role. This one trick works wonders. Pause, think, and then answer.
3. Use your strengths effectively. Build an answer with positivity. For example, someone changed jobs too frequently. In the stress round the person was blamed for whimsical & irrational decisions as to the primary reasons for a job switch. Such doubts once raised instigate an immediate response. You may play “victim of circumstances” to justify your reasons for changing jobs. You will certainly create a trap for yourself to confront more counter questions.
The best way is to put a generic answer, leveraging your strength. Like you started taking interest and built competency in data science. You felt that the present company yet not ready to enhance your scope of work enabling you to practice your expertise as they lack initiatives in technology. Hence, your decision to join another company was wise and you could start working on your interest. The decision to change jobs has benefited you in your career.
There can be many answers like this, I have just shared an example. One needs to do self-discovery to identify the strengths that one can showcase. If you are prepared and remain unperturbed by difficult questions you can succeed in any stressful interview round.
These three techniques sound easy to follow but making them spontaneous takes time. One needs to practice hard to take control over the mind, emotions, and words. Although I took reference to stress interviews here, let me tell you, these are critical abilities for all leaders in line. If you want to flourish in your leadership do practice these diligently.
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