During job interviews, employers often ask the question, “How do you work under pressure?” This question aims to assess your ability to handle stress, meet deadlines, and remain productive in challenging situations. It is especially important for neurodivergent job-seekers to understand how to respond effectively to showcase their resilience and adaptability. In this blog, we will explore the reasons behind this question, provide practical steps to prepare for it, and offer a strong answer tailored to neurodivergent job-seekers.
Why Employers Ask This Question:
Employers ask about your ability to work under pressure to evaluate your stress management skills, problem-solving abilities, and how you handle tight deadlines. They want to ensure that you can remain calm, focused, and productive when faced with difficult situations. Additionally, employers are interested in understanding your coping strategies and whether you possess the necessary skills to thrive in a fast-paced work environment.
Preparing for the Interview Question:
Step 1: Reflect on past experiences.
Take a moment to think about past situations, whether professional or personal, where you faced high-pressure circumstances. Consider how you responded, the strategies you employed to manage stress, and the outcomes you achieved. Reflecting on these experiences will help you recognise your strengths in pressure-filled scenarios.
Step 2: Identify your coping mechanisms.
Determine the coping mechanisms that work best for you when dealing with stress and pressure. This could include techniques like prioritisation, time management, deep breathing exercises, or seeking support from colleagues. Knowing your go-to strategies will enable you to articulate your approach during the interview.
Step 3: Develop a concise response.
Craft a concise and honest response that highlights your ability to work effectively under pressure. Be specific about the actions you take to manage stress and maintain productivity. Instead of making vague statements, focus on describing concrete steps you employ. Emphasise your organisational skills, adaptability to changing circumstances, and ability to make well-informed decisions.
Step 4: Provide examples.
Support your response with relevant examples from your past experiences. Describe a specific situation where you successfully handled pressure and achieved positive results. Clearly outline the steps you took, the challenges you faced, and how you overcame them. By sharing this information, you demonstrate your capacity to thrive in demanding environments.
Step 5: Practice and self-reflection.
Practice delivering your response with a supportive individual, paying attention to clarity, confidence, and using concise language. Seek feedback to refine your answer. Additionally, take time to reflect on how you have grown and learned from past pressure situations, acknowledging any improvements you have made in managing stress.
“When working under pressure, I have found that staying organised and breaking down tasks into manageable steps helps me maintain focus and meet deadlines effectively. For example, in my previous role, we faced a critical project with a tight timeline. I immediately created a detailed plan outlining milestones, allocated resources, and set realistic deadlines. By prioritising tasks and maintaining open communication with the team, we were able to work collaboratively and achieve the project’s goals despite the pressure. I also practice deep breathing exercises and take short breaks to recharge and maintain a clear mind. This approach enables me to navigate stressful situations while remaining productive and ensuring high-quality outcomes.”