How to Ace the “How do you Cope in Adversity?” Interview Question

Job interviews can be nerve-racking, and one of the toughest questions to answer is “How do you cope in adversity?” It’s a question that’s bound to come up during interviews, especially for roles that require resilience and the ability to thrive when faced with challenges.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to prepare for this question and provide some powerful strategies for answering it.

Understand what the interviewer is looking for

Firstly, it’s essential to establish what the recruiter wants to know. The question “How do you cope in adversity?” is a behavioural question that aims to uncover your ability to handle challenging situations in the workplace. The interviewer wants to gauge your emotional intelligence, problem-solving, and communication skills. They want to know if you have the emotional resilience required to remain focused and positive when deal with difficult situations while still delivering on your job responsibilities.

Use the STAR method to structure your answer

The interviewer wants to hear a well-structured answer, so using the STAR method can be helpful. The STAR method is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This method proves that you are willing to take action when faced with difficulty at work, demonstrate good judgment and an ability to maintain a level head even in high-pressure environments.

To answer the “How do you cope in adversity?” question using the STAR method, start by describing a specific situation you faced. Explain the task, explaining what needed to be achieved. Then, describe the steps you took to manage the situation, highlighting your skills and contributions to resolving the problem. Finally, describe the positive outcome your actions brought.

Provide context, but be concise

When answering an interview question, it’s crucial to provide context, but you don’t want to ramble. Give enough detail to make your response more convincing, but be mindful of the amount of time the interview is taking. Keep your answer concise, and try to avoid additional elaboration.

Be honest, authentic and positive

Honesty and authenticity are critical during interviews. Don’t try to oversell or overemphasize your abilities or experience. You should discuss situations that are challenging but also demonstrate your positive outcomes. Use the experience to highlight your ability to learn, grow and deal with adversity positively. Remember, the interviewer is not looking for perfection; they want someone who is adaptable, has a positive outlook, and isn’t afraid to acknowledge their limitations.


Answering difficult interview questions such as “How do you cope in adversity?” can be nerve-racking, but being well-prepared and using a structured approach is key to success. Use the STAR method to structure your answer, provide context and be authentic. Remember, even if the situation was tough, demonstrate positivity, and show that you’ve learned from the experience. Good luck with your next interview!

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