Nifty Tips to Champion the Stress Test Interview

Hiring the right candidate is always a herculean task for all the companies. Talent acquisition as a process is constantly evolving and recruiters are improvising on their existing processes. One such technique of selecting the best among the rest is through the Stress Test Interviews. Unlike Behavioural Event Interviewing (BEI) Stress Test Interviews do not follow any process or do not look for any kind of evidence finding in you. The only similarity between the two methods of interviewing is that both the techniques help recruiters to understand about your cultural fitment to the company.

What are Stress Test Interviews?

This is a technique used by interviewers to gauge your inner capabilities to deal with the tough and stressful situations. This technique is used by the companies which majorly work in energetic environment. If the position you are applying for involves multitasking or depends on crucial yet short deadlines, this method is used.

There is absolutely no pattern for this kind of interview. The interview questions can be distantly related to your experience or the position you applied for. The only point to keep in mind is the “presence of mind” and “quick reflex actions”.

Let me demonstrate one such stress test interview through my personal experience.

The position I applied for: Manager-HR at a conglomerate

After having undergone two stages of interviews before, this was the final one deciding my course of fate at the organization.

I was called for an interview around 2 pm.

Dressed in business formals, I stepped into the interviewer’s cabin.

The interviewer ordered me to sit at one corner and he was seated at the other distant corner.

After few minutes of silence, the interview began.

Interviewer: Tell me something about yourself.

Me: Began with my place of birth, educational qualifications, work experience and interests.

Tip: Your introduction should be absolutely crisp and should not last for more than one minute.

My interviewer was pretending to not pay attention to me and was checking out some other files.

Interviewer: Do you know the divisibility rule of 3? The one we all learnt in our younger classes? Can you prove that theorem to me and I don’t want you to use any examples.

Me: It would be wrong to say I was not perplexed. I gathered my courage and explained him the same.

Looking discontent, he pointed at the pen I was holding and confronted me that I was nervous. Throughout the interview he kept on pushing me to drink water. He was constantly objecting to my replies. His constant endeavor was to bring my morale down.

Some of the more questions asked to me were:

  1. Explain the Porters Rule. (It is a concept taught in Business Strategy classes)

  2. Suppose I call your best friend here inside this room and ask her about 3 of the best qualities that you possess. What that would be? The only condition is that you will be standing outside the room and cannot gesture or tell her about the same.

  3. You are competing with your best friend for the Miss Popular contest. Do you think your class would vote for you? If yes, why?

  4. Do you know the financial concepts like Revenue, Gross Margin, EBIDTA etc?

  5. Why do you want to join our company? Do not give me any of the jargons you learnt in your B-school.

Before the conclusion of my interview, I was sent outside with the company’s financial report. I was asked to read about the financial concepts and then come back again

However, I was called after 15 minutes and the final question was:

  • Justify in 2 minutes (exact) why you want to join our organization?

Now let’s analyse this interview:

a. The interview lasted for 45 minutes.

b. Throughout the interview, I maintained eye contact with the interviewer. This worked out in my favor as after the conclusion of interview, interviewer complimented me for the same.

So, all the aspirants out there maintain eye contact and just keep your posture steady.

c. The interviewer was sitting far distant and was raising objections on everything I said.

The Key is not to get perturbed by these activities. This is just done to confuse you and demoralize you.

d. I was constantly being told by my interviewer that I am wrong.

Don’t deviate from your statements. Stay consistent. If you don’t know anything, be honest about it.

e. If you notice, I was asked questions which were remotely related to the position I had applied for.

In this case, be confident about what you say. If you want to take time to recall some concept, do take your time.

​There is no success formula to crack stress test interviews. Each individual has strengths of their own. So, my only suggestion would be to not lose courage and go with the course flow of the interview. The interviewer catches you the moment you lose the momentum. So, you just have to ensure that once in the battle, never concede but conquer every time.

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