5 Interview Types and How to Ace Them
4. The Stress Interview
What Is It?
It’s just as it sounds: an interview designed to stress you out. The point? To see how you cope. The interviewer will try to intimidate by asking off the wall questions (like, “if you were an animal, which would you be?”). Or perhaps a panel of interviewers will greet you, firing questions at you in quick succession. They might make you wait for an hour before seeing you, give you the silent treatment, or respond to your answers with rudeness and/or mockery. If you’re really unlucky, they’ll use a combination of the aforementioned techniques.
It’s all part of a game to see just how much abuse you can withstand before you crack.
Although these types of interviews tend to be frowned upon by the experts, who claim they are not useful or fair, they continue to be used from time to time.
How to Ace It
Stress interviews may be unfair, unrealistic or downright cruel. Unfortunately, they’re here to stay.
And while you’re unlikely to experience the whole sadistic shebang, you may, at the very least, endure a few isolated stress questions.
The key to surviving this nightmare is to stay calm. And the first step to doing so is to recognize that you are in the midst of a stress interview. Instead of taking their ill-treatment personally, learn the rules of the game and play it well. Be firm about your main message is so that if you are asked a stress question, you’ll be less flustered and can quickly adapt an appropriate answer.
One way to prepare is to ask for an agenda beforehand. They can tell you how many people you’re going to meet on the day. They may even tell you what type of interview you’re going to experience.
And whatever you do, don’t get aggressive or argumentative. Be courteous and polite, even if no one else is. Don’t, as one Lehman Brothers interviewee allegedly did, throw a chair through the window in a fit of rage.