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Give an example of having worked under pressure... [interview question]

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    How do I answer this?! I honestly can't think of time I've worked under pressure. Surely avoiding high pressure situations is a natural (or even desirable) characteristic in an applicant? Anyway, I'm told this answer is VERY bad; they always want a detailed example.

    What would be good things to talk about? I've worked in Sainsbury's (as a knuckle-dragger... erm, I mean shelf stacker, and cashier), admin work for the family business and my degree (I'm told, 'I really had to work hard to hand in my dissertation on time' is not a good answer! Plan your work better?) -- Not really high pressure situations.

    How do I fudge that experience into a story about high pressure working? ...he asked subtly

    How would you answer the question?

    Note: This isn't about a specific company's interview, so it's not against the rules, right? It's a pretty common question anyway.
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    I hate interview questions like that. I also hate the ones where you're asked about a time when you went beyond your call of duty, or when you took initiative to do something.

    To be honest, there are probably a few examples where you've worked under pressure... and if not, you can make one up. For example, where I work (Asda), we have regular inspections, and because the managers are so useless they're always caught off-guard until the day before the inspection If you're working the day before an inspection a shift is like to entail being rushed off your feet cleaning, tidying, working stock and suchlike, with little chance of getting the breaks you're entitled to... and you really have to perform, otherwise impatience gets the better of the managers (because it's their jobs on the line for once). Also, because they're running all over the place, it sometimes takes someone (i.e. you) to take some leadership and try and organise the people you're working with or who are working around you. Examples like this are good because they're a type of pressure that you're subjected to despite not having had any particular role in causing it (as opposed to revision cramming, for example).
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    Has anyone ever phoned in sick and left you short staffed at work? Has a till or other vital piece of equipment broken and you've had to work hard to cope without it? Delivery lorry turned up late so you had less time to get stuff done?
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    If you really can't think of something then i suppose you could exaggerate a situation (or even make one up). For example you could talk about a time at work when you were really understaffed and there was a lot of work that needed to be done.
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    (Original post by cactus kid :))
    If you really can't think of something then i suppose you could exaggerate a situation (or even make one up). For example you could talk about a time at work when you were really understaffed and there was a lot of work that needed to be done.
    Thanks.

    That's the thing, isn't it? They're not even bothered if you're making it up, as long as you fully appreciate the importance of it (enough to lie about it) and the factors surrounding it.

    The way I see it, a lot of business is about ************ (Edit: bullock-excrementing), manipulating and thinking on your feet. Doing it at interview is merely demonstrating a characteristic they're looking for! :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by o-e-s-j)
    Thanks.

    That's the thing, isn't it? They're not even bothered if you're making it up, as long as you fully appreciate the importance of it (enough to lie about it) and the factors surrounding it.

    The way I see it, a lot of business is about ************ (Edit: bullock-excrementing), manipulating and thinking on your feet. Doing it at interview is merely demonstrating a characteristic they're looking for! :rolleyes:
    I don't really know why but that made me laugh quite a bit. Think it was the phrase 'bullock-excrementing'.
    But anyway, yeah your probably right.
    Were you asking this question because you have an interview coming up? Or just out of interest?
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    (Original post by cactus kid :))
    I don't really know why but that made me laugh quite a bit. Think it was the phrase 'bullock-excrementing'.
    But anyway, yeah your probably right.
    Were you asking this question because you have an interview coming up? Or just out of interest?
    I just failed an interview really badly because I drew a complete blank on this question. Don't have any more lined up yet, but almost all job descriptions require 'perform well under pressure'-types.
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    I have done PA/secretarial work for almost 40 years now and at one time you never saw the phrase "Able to work under pressure" in job adverts. Yet it is becoming increasingly common, especially in office work, with one person now being expected to do what used to be two or three people's jobs. I also earn only £4,000 per year more now than I did in 1987!! Don't get me wrong - I am certainly not work-shy and don't mind taking on extra responsibility, but increasingly bosses expect someone who will basically do most of their job for them, for a fraction of what they are paid per year. The trouble is, there are people out there silly enough to do this and that is what is perpetuating it all.

    I am also confused by the fact that if someone goes for a job as, say, a mechanic, they are not asked to "work under pressure", neither are they asked to change a wheel as part of their interview process. Yet as well as being expected to work under pressure, PAs/secretaries are always asked to type letters as part of their interview process which is, to be frank, a complete insult to their intelligence.

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