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Know What to Say on a Job Interview

Stress Interview

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Astounding as it may seem, the Greek hazing system has made its way into the corporate environment, in the form of what's commonly referred to as a stress interview.

Employers view the stress interview type as a legitimate way of determining candidates' aptness for a position and to reveal if they are easily shaken.

For example, to increase the stress you might already be feeling just by interviewing in the first place, you might be held in the waiting room for an hour or so before the interviewer greets you.

Worse, you might face long silences or cold stares from the interviewer. Additionally, the interviewer might openly challenge your beliefs or judgment.

Yet another common tactic in the stress interview, is for the interviewer to ask you to perform a seemingly unreasonable or odd task, like persuading him or her to exchange shoes with you.

Insults and miscommunication are common tactics too.

All of the tactics in a stress interview are designed to test how you handle pressure and keep your cool. Besides wearing a strong antiperspirant, you will do well to:

  • Remember that the stress interview is a game. It's not personal, no matter how much so it seems to get. View it as the surreal interaction that it is.
  • Prepare and memorize your main message before walking through the door. If you become flustered, you will better maintain clarity of mind if you do not have to wing your responses.
  • Try to go into the interview relaxed and rested. If you go into it already feeling stressed, you will likely have a more difficult time keeping your cool.
  • Even if the interviewer seems rude, remain calm and tactful. Remember, the interviewer is testing you.

No matter how hard it might be afterwards, send a nice thank you note to each of your stress interviewers.

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For sample interview questions and tips for navigating other interview types not listed above (such as technical interviews), start at Interviews.

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Know What to Say on a Job Interview
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