VidCruiter Logo

Stress Interview

Written by

Tiffany Clark

Reviewed by

VidCruiter Editorial Team

Last Modified

Jun 27, 2024
Stress Interview
Left Arrow Icon Back to Main Glossary


  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • URL copied to clipboard!


Stress interviews are designed to put candidates under immense stress or tension. By simulating stressful situations, employers can gauge how a candidate will respond in real-life scenarios. While a behavioral-based interview allows candidates to answer questions about how they have behaved in the past, a stress interview gives employers the opportunity to see in real time how a candidate behaves under pressure. 


There are specific types of employers who use stress interviews, such as:


  • Law enforcement

  • Air travel

  • Emergency services

  • Military

  • Intelligence

  • Speculation banking

  • Hospitality

  • Retail and sales


It would be unusual for an interviewer to employ stress interview tactics for the majority of positions. Rather, these types of interviews are typically reserved for jobs where people are working in highly stressful situations or high-stress industries. 




Some common stress interview types include:


  • Inconsiderate conduct: The interviewer may act disinterested or dismissive and do things such as look at their phones repeatedly during the interview. 

  • Pretentious conduct: Interviewers can use non-verbal communication to send the message that they have better things to be doing. 

  • Forceful addressing: For example, an interviewer might ask, “What do you think of my interview approach?” or “Why were you fired from your last job?”

  • Arbitrary addressing: Interviewers may use illusory correlation and ask questions that don’t make sense, or they might ask questions that are difficult to answer correctly. For example, “What kind of animal would you be and why?”

  • Brainteasers: To test a candidate’s thinking skills, an interviewer might ask questions to which most people don’t know the answers, such as “How many hot dogs do Americans eat every day?”


Related Terms

Behavioral-Based Interview

refers to an interview in which hiring managers ask candidates behavioral-based interview questions. The aim of a behavioral-based interview is to reveal a candidate’s character traits, skills, and likely future performance. The term behavior-based interview is used interchangeably with competency-based interview.

Case Interview

refers to a technique in which a candidate faces challenging business situations that require investigation and solving in a real-time environment.

Left Arrow Icon Back to Main Glossary