Career Advice Not Worth Taking: Does a Pat Answer to How You Deal With Stress Work?

Several weeks ago, I learned of a free new career e-book for new grads from a technical recruiting firm. I worked in university career offices for eight years before starting my business, so I couldn’t wait to see what they had to say. 5460821586_4e011d7150

  • Good advice on the need for a mentor. Check.
  • Proactive practices to scout for opportunities from social media to interviewing 101. Check.
  • Sound strategies on doing your homework before applying for a job. Check.

The Guide was filled with good advice, until I got to the section on going “Beyond Interviewing 101” which had prescribed answers for each question.

Over the next three days, I’ll be sharing these Questions & Answers with you–the suggested advice along with my take. Here’s the first:

Question: How do you handle stress and pressure?

Suggested Answer: The best answer would be saying “I actually work better under pressure” and giving an example.


My take:

This is the answer that the recruiting firm who wrote the e-book wants to hear from the candidates that they are trying to recruit. They are spoonfeeding it to you. So if you interview with them, this is the answer that they are looking for.

I don’t recommend this approach.

I think the answer to this question should be balanced with candor: Talk about how flexible you are–or how you approach your work–within the context of what the employer needs.

1. How you REALLY handle stress and pressure and

2. How the employer NEEDS you to handle stress and pressure.

There are some jobs where you MUST work under pressure: Think live tv or videostreaming, stock trading, the ER, other positions that require you to perform “in the moment.”

But for many jobs employers NEED for the environment to be as stress-free as possible: Here are a few examples: therapeutic horseback riding facilities, spas, quality assurance for companies who cannot operate without FDA approval.

Most jobs are in between. Many employers don’t appreciate procrastination—or situations that lead to stress and pressure. Also something to consider.

How would you answer this question? And how would you assess what’s important to the hiring organization?

Till next time,


Photo by John Crowley

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1 Response to Career Advice Not Worth Taking: Does a Pat Answer to How You Deal With Stress Work?

  1. Advices about handling stress are really great. Thanks

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