Give an example of time when you were overwhelmed with work. How did you handle it?


A cross in hands of a medical assistantLife is not perfect. Each of us feels overwhelmed sometimes and if it happens, we can not perform our working duties optimally.

Medical assistants work with all kinds of people. You know, that’s never easy… One can quickly get overwhelmed with everything he needs to take care of and hear in job, especially when he has bad-luck on irate, or stupid patients. In fact everyone who worked in healthcare for at least one year must felt overwhelmed with his job at certain time. But how to handle it? How to answer this question in an interview?

Speak about your past, not about possible situations

It is a behavioral question. They ask you “how did you handle being overwhelmed“, not “how would you handle it“.  They want to hear about a situation from the past.

Doing so, they test oyour trustworthiness, honesty, if you are not afraid to see yourself in a mirror. Everyone of us was overwhelmed many times, both in personal life and in work. But not everyone is ready to put the cards on the table and admit it…

Good job applicant can talk openly about bad feelings from work. So, what to do?

  1. Pick a situation from the past. Describe it realistically and in detail, so the recruiters see a reason why you got overwhelmed in job.
  2. Admit it. Admit that you were overwhelmed and admit that it influenced your performance.
  3. Describe what you did to get over it.

Examples of a good answer

It happened to me two months ago. Everything was just getting bad and I simply had enough. I described my feelings to the boss in all honesty and he gave me two days off. We both agreed that it was not worth working in my mental condition. So I took two days off, went to the beach, relaxed and came back to work full of energy and ready to handle everything with smile again. Sometimes a little break can help us to get rid of bad feelings and find new energy in work.

I was overwhelmed, but I did not let it to get the better of me. I understood I could not take a leave, so I fought with the situation, drank a lot of coffee and somehow got better, after couple of days.

I used to be overwhelmed in the past and had to change my approach to work to eliminate this problem. I learned to prioritize my tasks much better, to work faster and effectively. I also learned to accept tough situations as come and go, and since then I deal with everything much better.

Be honest, humble and find solutions. That’s the best way how to answer this tricky question in your interview.

Did you like the answer? What about multiple brilliant answers to all twenty-two tough medical assistant interview questions, as well as winning job interview strategies and secrets? You will find it in our Medical Assistant Interview Guide. Thank you for checking it out!

Next questions: