Tell Me About A Time When You Were Overwhelmed With Work? (With 10 Sample Interview Answers)

This is a question which can be asked in various versions, such as ‘Tell me about a time when you were put under a heavy workload’ or ‘How do you handle pressure situations. The version may be any, but the approach and preparation for this question remain the same. Through this question, an interviewer wants to know, how effectively can you manage days with the pressure of high volume and heavy workload. A thoroughly prepared answer would show that you are a mature candidate and very well aware of those days when you have to work beyond your contracted working time. Through this question, an employer wants to know your mindset towards tough conditions and your way of handling them.

This is a type of question that tests your behavior towards unpleasant things and your reaction to events beyond your comfort zone. It is a popular question, that you would see in almost all types of interviews conducted whether to hire top-level management or lower-level clerical jobs. Hence, one must prepare the answer to this question in a serious manner, which must be logical and reasoned. Here is a list of the ten best answers, covering almost all sectors and situations.

Ten Best Must Read Sample Answers

Sample Answer One (For Accounting Field)

In my previous stint, I worked as a Senior Accountant with ABC Consultancy Services LLP. I remember that there was a time when a completely new taxation law was passed in the parliament. As per that law, all the accounts of the clients needed to be transformed into a completely new format. There were around 1500 clients under my direct supervision. So you can imagine the workload that got generated in an instant.

But, I never got stressed out and panicked. rather I kept my cool and started grouping my team into a group of three each responsible for handling a unique task. As a result, we were able to completely transform all the accounts within 14 days, even a day before the deadline of 15 days.

Sample Answer Two (For Information Technology Field)

I worked as a software developer at ABC Software Management Company. Just after two months of my joining, I had to face a similar situation when we had to work overtime, in order to complete a transitioning process. It took a lot of hard work, skills, and effort. We were even required to maintain consistency and quality for long periods of time. But I maintained my composure and did everything I was asked for by the management.

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Sample Answer Three (For Medical Staff)

The worst period came in when I was employed as a doctor at ABC Hospitals. This was a time, when we were ordered to work for almost 18-19 hours straight. There was even a designated place in the hospital itself where we were supposed to sleep. This continued for almost the next 3 months, and we were completely overwhelmed with work. But I never resigned, and continued to fight with my boredom, tiredness and fatigue.

Sample Answer Four (For Aviation Sector)

Recently there was a huge pent-up in bookings, and I being the senior pilot, was chosen to be a part of the mission. I was working for almost 17-18 hours a day and this genuinely broke my mental strength. Still, I kept myself calm and maintained my composure with positive self-talks and deep breathing. This way I was able to succeed and cope with the days of heavy workload.

Sample Answer Five (For Hotel Industry)

Usually, in summers there is a big chunk of the population, that wants to enjoy and go out for vacation. I was a senior manager at ABC Resorts Pvt. Ltd. and we used to see huge bookings in the summer season. With so many guests and clients to be handled, my summers, usually pushed my boundaries and I had to work way beyond the stipulated working hours. This used to bring me a lot of fatigue and tiredness. But, I never caved in, and always handled all the tasks given to me with utmost care and proficiency.

Sample Answer Six (For Tourism Industry)

I was working as a ticket booking executive at ABC Leisure Trips Services. In order to meet this sudden pent-up demand, I had to work for almost 15-16 hours a day, staring right at the computer screen and booking tickets for our clients. I was completely overwhelmed with work, but I always maintained my consistency level and gave a good performance. This worked wonders for me, and I was given a special cash reward by my previous employer..

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Sample Answer Seven (For Employees Working In Factories)

I was working as a production manager at ABC Plant in XYZ city. Suddenly, we saw an increase in the demand for steel valves. To be honest, I really panicked at first, but then I eased my nerves and made a phone call to my subordinate and called him in my cabin.

I explained to him all the situation and we were able to draw out a guide-plan in order to ensure there is a steady supply of raw materials, availability of sufficient labor and resources in order to meet this sudden increase in demand. The plan survived and triumphed. We were able to meet the demand and this even increased our revenue manifolds.

Sample Answer Eight (General Answer)

I remember a time when my fellow colleague went for a maternity leave of 6 months. With no immediate replacement in sight and the nonavailability of temps, I was expected to work on a dual charge and was supposed to complete her daily tasks as well. This gave me huge volumes of work to be completed on a daily basis and that too for a period of six months.

I accepted the challenge and never resigned from the post. Rather, I worked with even more heart and put in a lot of effort and skills. With effective time management, I was able to ace the challenge with ease.

Sample Answer Nine (For B.P.O Employees)

I was working as a transaction processing associate in a team of three. Being in a back-end job we were usually assigned heavy workloads on a daily basis. There came a time when one of my team members suffered from typhoid and one had a close marriage to be attended to. Both being genuine reasons, my team leader approved their leaves and I was given clear instructions to process all the transactions allotted to the team and the team had only me.

This simply meant that I had to complete thrice the volume. At once, I was really chilled through my spine and thought of resigning. But at the very next moment, I decided to give it a go and accepted the gauntlet thrown at me. I worked really long hours, often skipping my lunch. But, I was able to complete all the tasks with good accuracy and commitment.

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Sample Answer Ten (For Administrative Assistants)

I was employed as an administrative assistant at ABC Services INC. By primary role was to reply and follow up the emails. There was a time, when our company launched a faulty product in the market, and we used to get almost 1000 customer complaints every day. Half of which were assigned to me. This was really a very high volume of work, overwhelming me completely.

But, I did not quit and accepted the challenge. I categorized the emails into two categories, the one which related to the faulty product and the other general queries. This helped me to utilize my time in an effective and productive way. I aced the challenge and was rewarded with a promotion.

Conclusion

There is high competition for a limited number of jobs nowadays. This makes an interview process even more challenging and demanding. A candidate, must never take a common and repetitive question in a casual or non-serious way, rather prepare for each and every question, wholeheartedly. Handling pressure and heavy workloads are common in organizations nowadays.

It is advised that you maintain a positive attitude with enough calmness and composure that will allow you to succeed in that phase of life. If you like our articles then don’t forget to share them with your family and friends. Also, do let us know through the comments section below, how helpful our articles are for your friends and/or family members.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13561820.2014.884552
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03043790500087571