How do you handle stress? How to answer call center interview questions

August 28, 2022 • written by

“How do you handle stress?” is a common question often asked by call center interviewers.

The interviewers want to know if you can cope with stress. Stress is an important part of life and the workplace, but there are some ways to better manage it. Keep reading for tips on how to answer this question with confidence.


  1. Why do interviewers ask, “how do you handle stress?”
  2. Quick techniques to cope with stress.
  3. Medium-to-long term strategies to managing stress.
  4. How to answer the interview question about managing stress

Call center work is extremely stressful, especially if you’re agreeable.

Stress is inevitable in customer service, sales, and tech support.

Stress can have terrible side effects- from suppressing your immune system to elevated blood pressure and body weight.

Stress and anxiety become a daily challenge and, eventually, part of life, but learning how to cope and manage is important for a continuous flow of call center income.

You can’t always answer problems with a vacation.

The call center industry and many jobs for the matter thrive when call center agents go to work and suffer if you are absent.

Everybody knows call center work is stressful.

That said, we’re likely going to encounter the interview question, “how do you handle stress?”

How do you handle stress?

How you handle stress is up to you.

I used to say that “I just smoke outside,” and I’ve trained myself to calm down from upsetting events after one or two sticks of cigarettes.

However, I’m older now and wiser, and I now fully understand that smoking is bad for your health.

So I got to think about different strategies to handle stress.

I’m dividing this section into fast solutions, what not to do, and long-term solutions.

Quick techniques to cope with stress:

Here are some quick stress-reducing techniques that I’ve used myself.

  1. A quick nap. During my 15-minute break, I’d quickly move to the sleeping area and set my alarm for 12 minutes. I wake up with a minute to spare and run back. I also use my lunch to take a 30-minute nap so I can recover more of my cognitive ability.
  2. A short walk. I sometimes find myself in a stressful situation where I also happen to have gotten enough sleep, so a nap may not work. According to a study by the health journalist Fawad Shadid, “walking could have many benefits, including improved mood and reduced stress levels”. This is often taken as scientific evidence that walking improves mood and reduces stress levels. I often go for a short walk during breaks while listening to music, podcast, or audiobook. See my medium to long-term strategy for the full explanation.
  3. A short meditation session. I see meditation as a mindfulness exercise for the mind that allows the thinking part of my brain to take a short break. I recommend downloading the Headspace app or Oak on your smartphone. You can also try breathing exercises as an alternative to meditation.
  4. A short journalling session. I sometimes can’t leave the workstation. I write down my problem. I do my best to describe the problem in detail. I note my questions on paper. My mind eventually comes up with an answer, or I suddenly remember my notes and ask someone who can help me solve a problem. I sometimes write what happened that day and things that I’m thankful for. I also write my prayers on paper. A lot of my stress disappears, and my focus recovers after a short journalling session. I also write and organize my plans in my journal.
  5. Clean and organize your surroundings. My mentor taught me that a clean environment is a reflection of what’s going on in your mind.

Here’s how to NOT handle stress.

1. Social Media scrolling increases instead of decreses stress.

A common misconception about social media is that it’s a mindless activity. You may not realize this, but your mind is still reading, analyzing, processing, and deciding as you scroll through Facebook, Instagram, or other video feeds. You probably experienced this, you take a fifteen-minute break, you scroll through your favorite social media feed, and you come back to work, and you feel as if you didn’t take a break. The truth is, you think you took a break, but you’re reading and analyzing anywhere from thirty to a hundred pages of information.

2. Games have the properties of invisible overtime workload.

Similar to social media, games may trigger the seats in your mind associated with problem-solving, competitiveness, strategic planning, willpower, decision-making, and discipline. I play “Summoners War,” a Clash of Clans, squad-based, Pokemon and Final Fantasy-inspired infinite play RPG. I play for a couple of hours, and I often don’t feel like working after. I have had a similar experience with many other games. Many times, I feel like I’ve done overtime at work. I am, after all, commanding armies of cute digital monsters and amassing resources for my kingdom, and that is no easy job. My recommendation is that instead of playing to escape work, you may want to treat your work like a game instead. Limiting games can help boost work motivation as well.

3. Watching Videos turns off the problem solving part of your brain and kills your motivation.

I’ve had a similar problem with TV. When I moved out of my parent’s house, I’m much more productive and motivated at work. However, I got addicted to YouTube and Netflix when I installed fast unlimited internet. I read a study long ago about how your mind switches from producing creative ideas to just absorbing internalizing messages when you watch TV or it’s modern transformation, YouTube. Watching videos turns off the problem-solving part of your brain and you’d likely need another “full” night of sleep to regain your motivation.

Medium to Long term stress-reducing strategies:

  1. Get enough sleep. Sleep is the foundation of a healthy body. I’ve explained this so many times, you need to guard your sleep schedule with the same level of discipline as your work schedule or business appointments. Lack of sleep leads to poor self control.

  2. Eat healthy meals. A big majority of your nutrition is dedicated to feeding your mind which is why ingesting enough junk food, carbs, and sugar often makes you sleepy and lazy. Poor diet makes the body feel distracted and unproductive.

  3. Exercise regularly. Exercise has been the best medium to long term solution to stress for me. Exercise has kept me sane and motivated during days that I’m depressed or unmotivated. Exercise gives me a feeling of discipline, self-control, and confidence. I also feel great and my body looks better. My career also naturally progressed after I begun to exercise more frequently. You also sleep better and eat healthier when you exercise.

  4. Ensure proper hygiene. Take a cold shower and brush your teeth. We’ve been doing this since grade school, so cold showers and brushing your teeth will trigger your mind to bring it on.

  5. Write about stressful situations and explain the reason why you decided to confront it. This strategy helps strengthen your communication skills, analysis, and problem-solving skills. Practice writing and documenting problems, and you’ll eventually find a solution. Most people never write their problems, so their brain rarely works to find a solution. Many life problems are similar to math exercises and require some paper to solve. You figure out effective formulas after you solve enough problems. Don’t avoid problems. Trap and solve your problems on paper.

  6. Create an environment of positive influence. There were many times when my friends and family were difficult to deal with, so I had to proactively seek positive influence. I met many good friends at church, the gym, and through reading books and blogs. I also listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Don’t depend on people too much. Don’t try to manage your problems alone.

Conclusion: How to answer the interview question “how do you handle stress?”

You may have noticed that I have a lot of things to say about managing stress.

I like physical solutions because I’ve had more success when I do something and something happens instead of mental solutions or “mindset” hacks.

Do I give the interviewer the full explanation? Chances are I don’t. I often answer only with a short list of things that I do.

However, interviewers ask many follow-up questions to interesting topics to test your communication skills, if you are speaking the truth, and many times, simply to listen to what you have to say.

In the event the interviewer asks me how I handle stress and expound on my answers, I’d be more than able to showcase my skills at doing the following:

  1. Communicating well
  2. Managing myself
  3. Managing stress.
  4. Discipline.
  5. Explaining things.
  6. Teaching a skill.
  7. Convincing or selling.

As a result, I win many interviews.

Are you happy with what you’ve learned about answering the interview question “how to handle stress?”

Thank you for reading this far and thanks for your attention.

I am praying for your success. God bless!

If you made it this far, you should introduce yourself.












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