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How To Answer Interview Questions About How You Handle A Heavy Workload

How To Answer Interview Questions About How You Handle A Heavy Workload


We all have times on the job when the work piles on. However, we don’t all react in the same way. Some of us handle that stress better than others.

Related: Answering Behavioral Interview Questions Regarding High-Stress Situations

A potential employer naturally wants to know how you will react when that situation happens in this new job. So, they say something like, ‘Describe a time when your workload was particularly heavy and what steps you took to handle it.’

Behavioral Interview Questions

This is a type of behavioral interview question, or behavioral event interview question. These types of questions ask you to describe your past actions or predict how you’ll react in future situations. These can be great ways to get insight into your personality and how you approach difficult situations.

Answers to behavioral interview questions are best structured using the STAR format (Situation or Task, Action you took, and Results you achieved). Using this technique ensures you say what you need to say to give a complete answer to the question. (Some people forget to talk about the results they got from the actions they took, but this is the most important part.)

What Do They Want To Know?

Basically, they want to know how you approach problems and stress. Can you adapt? Can you prioritize? Can you stay calm?

A lot of people will just say, ‘I stay until the work is done.’ Persistence is good, but letting them know that you approach problems analytically and strategically is better. Show them that you can think critically and make good decisions. Walk them through how you have dealt with this issue before or how you would deal with it.

Good Sample Answers

Here are a couple of examples of good answers to this question:

  • “We all have times when the workload gets a little heavier than normal. I’ve found that the best way to handle it is to step back, take a look at everything on my task list and prioritize. Most of the time, not everything needs to get done immediately. Some things are more critical to team goals than others, so sometimes it’s necessary to prioritize.” Then, tell a short story about a time when you did that, and tell what the results of it were: you got X task done, which was beneficial because of Y.
  • “In that kind of situation, prioritizing and teamwork both become critical. I speak to my supervisor to see if I can help him or her and get some input on which tasks to tackle first.” Then talk about the time you provided assistance to your boss on a mission-critical task and what happened as a result of that teamwork.

Every interview answer should help sell you for the job. Be prepared with great answers for dozens of tough questions in How to Answer Interview Questions and How to Answer Interview Questions II, both available on Amazon.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

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Peggy McKee Career Coach – Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner.

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