Can you work under pressure?

A common question that interviewers like to ask is “Can you work under pressure?” or “Do you thrive under pressure?” Alternately, they may also ask about a time that you were under significant pressure and how you handled it.

Work can be a very stressful situation and you might often be put under a lot of pressure to finish projects, meet deadlines, increase your numbers, etc. In asking this question, the interviewer wants to find out how you will handle the stress and pressure at work. Are you one of those people who thrive under pressure or are you someone who might just crack under it?

If you want the job, or even be eligible for their consideration, then the only way to answer this question is yes, no matter what the truth is. Anything other than that and you will lose all the interest of the interviewer.

But, even just saying yes is not enough. You need to prove it. Use an example from your previous work experience, or even from normal life experience, which can be used to show that you can perform and even thrive under pressure. You need to know that work pressure and stress does not faze you, which is by no means true, as it fazes everyone including your interviewer, but you must show it as such nonetheless.

Even better than you being able to work under pressure, is if pressure does not bother you at all. You can say something along the lines that I work the same under pressure as I do without it. This shows your consistency in work, as well as supports the fact that you give your best all the time, not only when someone is pressuring you for it.

Example Answer:

While being under extreme pressure all the time can be bad for health, I do feel that a certain amount of pressure can push you in the right direction. I do try to do my best all the time, but I do feel that working under pressure can really push a person to the extent that even he didn’t think he was capable of. However, the trick is not to panic. An incident at my last job proves this. We were putting some last minute touchups on a project which was due to a client the next day, when all of a sudden, due to an error the files were corrupted. Rather than give up and ask for an extension, most of us stayed back to work on the back up files to ensure that the client got the delivery.

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