Tension: Sense of urgency and drive
The tension trait measures the extent to which individuals are generally expressing a sense of energy in reaching goals or they have a more relaxed and “laid-back” attitude towards completing tasks. The trait has two opposite poles namely Easygoing and Tense. Let’s look into both poles to better understand how we assess the tension trait.
Easygoing: People who are relaxed, tolerant, and not prone to rigid rules. An individual who is laid back and goes with the flow is an example of someone who could be described as easygoing. In the workplace, they do not mind if they are interrupted from their schedule and are quite patient.
Common Descriptors: relaxed, tranquil, torpid, patient
Tense: People that are tense display a lot of energy and drive when asked to complete tasks. While they prefer their designated tasks to be completed without disruptions, they are highly goal-oriented and are heavily focused on getting things done due to their high-energy and commitment.
Common Descriptors: tense, high-energy, driven, time-driven
Tension Interview Guide
The interview questions listed below can draw revealing answers and get you on your way to finding whether employees tend to experience a sense of urgency or they are relaxed in their day-to-day work. These interview questions assess the degree of how tense or easygoing a candidate is.
Note: There is no right or wrong answer, the answer you are seeking is based on what best fits the role and your company culture.
Top 2 questions and expected answers
1. Describe when you didn't meet a deadline. What happened?
Tense: Individuals who score closer towards the tense end of the scale are most likely to answer that the failure of meeting the designated deadline vastly affected them. Considering that tense individuals have a high sense or urgency and are focusing on getting things done, not meeting a deadline can be easily perceived as a setback and a failure. They are likely to suggest that in the future several steps need to be taken more quickly and effectively in order to avoid such failures from happening again.
Easygoing: Individuals who score closer towards the easygoing end of the scale are most likely to answer that the fact that they didn’t meet a deadline didn’t have an adverse influence on their emotional state or overall performance. Given that they tend to have a more tranquil and relaxed attitude they wouldn’t get easily frustrated by such setbacks and would probably answer that failure to meet deadlines can easily happen.
2. Tell me about a time when you had to use coping strategies when dealing with a high-pressure situation?
Tense: Individuals who score closer towards the tense end of the scale are most likely to answer that they immediately planned and acted upon the steps that needed to be followed with a sense of urgency. Given that tense individuals are highly committed to get things done as soon as possible they might share that they have experienced pressure and increased stress until they dealt with the high-pressure situation.
Easygoing: Individuals who score closer towards the easygoing end of the scale are most likely to answer that the high-pressure situation they had to deal with, didn’t vastly affect their emotional state and they followed the actions that needed to be taken with a relaxed attitude.
3. Tell me about some goals that you have set yourself and how you went about meeting them.
4. What changes have you tried to implement in your area of responsibility? What have you done to get them underway?
5. Tell me about some projects you generated on your own. What prompted you to begin them? How did you sell them to your manager or peers?
6. Tell me about what you would consider being your greatest failure. What did you learn from it? What would you do differently now?