When You Do Not Know the Answer During an Interview

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We have discussed several interview question answer tips in the past. So, you would face no problem in answering interview questions be it the tricky questions or the technical questions. (In case, you haven’t read our interview question tips, you may read them here). However, I am not going to share any trick to answer a particular question, but would explain how to handle the situation and avoid excruciating silence when you do not know any answer.

When You Do Not Know the Answer During an Interview
When You Do Not Know The Answer During An Interview
  • Stay composed 

Keep Calm. If you freak, your heart rate would pace up, your blood pressure would increase, and ultimately your body language would change which will spoil your impression. When an interviewer throws an unusual question on you and you do not know what to say, take a deep breath and think about what best answer can you give.

  • Never say, “I don’t know,”

I said, not to say ‘I do not know’, now do not take me wrong and think I am asking you to make up stuff. You do not have to make stuff up. Read other tips to know what else should you respond when you really do not know the answer.

  • Ask questions

There is a possibility that you did not understand the exact question which gave you a feeling that you do not know how to answer it. Clarify what interviewer wants to ask you, may be by getting a deeper clarity about the question give you an idea about how to answer it. There isn’t any bad about asking counter questions to the interviewer.

  • Speak what you know
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If you even have a slight idea about what an answer could be, then start with it. This is the last moment savior trick; because there are possibilities that starting out loud may help you figure out how to proceed with the answer.

  • Talk about the process/steps to figure out answer

While answering certain calculative or even hypothetical questions if you do not know the exact answer, you can even talk about the process or steps involved to find the right answers. Interviewers ask such questions to get a hack of your thinking process, because sometimes even they do not know the exact answer, but they ask you to know how you would handle difficult situations or new challenges.

  • Make best of the follow-up email

Follow up email also gives you a second chance to impress the interviewer. You can say that during the time you gave some thought to the question you had asked, and I have managed to come up with couple of more solutions.

With these tips, you can avoid the awkward silence when you do not know how to answer any interview question. Good luck for your next interview!

Hope you enjoyed reading this blog. Please feel free to share your feedback with us @khushboo.kaushik@careerbuilder.com

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