How to Answer “Work Under Pressure” Interview Question

Share This Post

Employers frequently ask “how do you work under pressure?” during job interviews. This can be an especially difficult question to answer since it varies based on the type of job and who is asking the question. Here’s how to answer it.

Land More Interviews With A Professional Resume

Get a professional resume review from a certified career expert

What does “work under pressure” mean?

“Work under pressure” is a question that can be tricky to answer. A good way to think about it is that it’s like a question about your ability to handle stress. The interviewer wants to know if you’re able to handle the demands of the job, and if so, how well?

The meaning of “work under pressure” depends on who’s asking the question—and what they mean by “stressed out.” For example:

If an interviewer asks if you’ve ever worked while experiencing high levels of stress or pressure at work (e.g., because deadlines were tight), then she probably wants an honest answer such as “yes,” even though this answer would not necessarily indicate whether or not your current circumstances are stressful enough for her liking.

In other words, she doesn’t care much about whether or not there was actually too much stress involved; all she cares about is whether or not someone else could handle it too! That way, she’ll know that when the chips are down (or the deadline approaches), her candidate will be ready.

If you are asked if you’ve ever experienced high levels of stress or pressure at work, then answer honestly. If the interviewer is looking for someone who can handle pressure well, then she will be drawn to candidates who have this characteristic.

But if the interviewer is looking for someone who performs well under stress, then she will be more interested in candidates who have proven themselves to be able to handle pressure. If you’ve experienced a lot of stress at work, explain how you handled the situation and what steps you took to reduce it.

These answers will help the interviewer gain a better understanding of your character and work ethic. You can also use this time to showcase any leadership skills you have developed throughout your career or volunteer experience.

Different work environments present a variety of pressures

You may be asked to describe the pressure you’ve experienced in a variety of different situations. Here’s how to answer this question:

  • “Is there any difference between working under pressure and not working under pressure?” If it’s an interview, this is likely your chance to show how well-rounded and adaptable you are by saying that while some people thrive on stress and others do not, everyone can benefit from a healthy work environment.
  • “How did I handle the pressure?” – If the interviewer inquires about specific job pressures, walk him or her through what occurred at each point of stress so that he or she understands why certain decisions were made (or not made).
  • “How do I handle it when someone asks me to do something that isn’t part of my job description?” – This is a tricky question, especially if you work in an environment where everyone has their own idea of what is and isn’t part of your job. If you’re asked this question, think about how you’ve handled similar situations before and use these examples to explain how you handle them now.

These should be situations where you were able to successfully explain the situation and how you resolved it.

See if you can find the company’s values

To answer this question, you’ll want to think about the company’s values. The more you know about what’s important to a company and how they operate, the better chance you have of answering their question correctly.

You can use these values as a guide when thinking about your own answers:

  • What do I value most?
  • How do I act when faced with pressure?
  • What are some of my greatest achievements?
  • What do I want to be known for?
  • Why am I the best person for this job?

Use the STAR method to describe your experience dealing with pressure

The STAR method is a good way to structure your answer. It stands for situation, task, action, and result.

  • Situation: What was the pressure? How did you feel about it? What was your role in it?
  • Task: What did you do during this pressure-filled situation? How did it make you feel at the time, and how do you feel now that things have calmed down (or not)?
  • Action: If there was an action that could be taken based on what happened during the pressure-filled situation, what would that be, and why would doing so help resolve any issues related to the said situation going forward (i.e., “I would… “)?
  • Result: What happened after you took this action? Was there a positive result or not? If not, what would have needed to happen differently in order for things to have turned out better?

“Working under pressure” is different for every job

It’s important to think about the pressures you’ve faced in previous jobs.

If you’re applying for a job that requires extensive travel, you may want to talk about how much time is spent away from home and family. If your interviewer asks about work-related stressors and how they affect your ability to perform well at work, think back on situations where there was a lot of pressure involved (e.g., deadlines) or low morale (e.g., layoffs).

Bring up examples from previous jobs where stressors were high but people still managed to not only survive—but thrive!

Land More Interviews With A Professional Resume

Get a professional resume review from a certified career expert


The best way to answer this question is to focus on your experience and ability to work under pressure. You’ll need to show that you’re ready for any situation and will be able to handle whatever comes your way.

Your resume and cover letter are the perfect places to include examples of how you’ve handled stress. If you’re struggling with ideas, think about any time there was a lot of pressure on you in your current or previous jobs and highlight it as an example of how well-equipped you are to handle stressful situations.

If you need help with your resume, we have a team of experts who can help you craft a document that will get you noticed by hiring managers.

Is Your Resume Working?

Get a professional resume review from a certified career expert

Is your resume getting ignored?

Land more interviews and get hired faster with a professional resume written by career experts.


Resume + Cover Letter

$ 199
  • Professionally written resume - By experts that know your industry
  • Formatted for success - Formatting that will get an employer's attention.
  • Keyword optimized - Your resume will be optimized to pass through Applicant Tracking Systems.
  • Collaborate with writer - Work directly with your resume writer for a personalized experience
  • Cover Letter - Employers are 40% more likely to read a resume with a cover letter.

Contact Us

Contact us if you have any questions

Monday - Friday, (9am - 5pm EST)


Priority Support


(786) 474 - 6976