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Don’t know an answer during a job interview? Tips on how to tackle this situation

Do you grapple while answering tough questions asked by the interviewers?

Or you are anxious and worried about the questions that may be asked for which you won’t have an answer?

Keep calm friend, as there is no such specialist in the world who knows everything.

So, it’s okay if you don’t have an answer to some questions. The only thing you should know is how to handle the situation in the right way.

To help you with this nerve-racking situation, here are some great tips to help you out.

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T1: Don’t Panic!

Most people get a ‘brain freeze’ the time they realize that they don’t have an answer to the question asked. Panicking and giving a vague response to the interviewer will make the situation worse.

Just try to relax and take some time before answering, because sometimes even when you know the answer you fail to get the right words to express it.

Wait for a few seconds, try to analyze the question asked, and think about some related topics you know that could be put to use in the particular answer.

T2: Adopt an Engaged Posture!

A study suggests that only 7 % of your communication is the actual word you say, 28 % are a specific vocal element. But 65 % is the non-verbal things such as facial expressions, gestures, and postures.

You must ensure that you are sending all the right signals to your interviewer. Maintain your body posture, do not crack your knuckles, do not hold things in your hands or move your feet too much. Keep your body language professional. Try to rest for a few hours and practice power poses to boost your confidence before the interview.

You must Think positively, stay focused, maintain eye contact, enjoy and smile at intervals. Use formal language and provide answers in brief pauses.

Remember that your anxiety gets reflected in your body posture and that might disinterest the interviewer.

T3: Be Confident!

If you get stuck with a question and nothing comes to your mind, don’t lose your confidence, politely accept about not knowing the answer and move on. This is absolutely okay as no one has perfect knowledge about everything.

Be straightforward and admit that you don’t know the answer to that question. Do not make up fraudulent stories or fake skill sets or strengths about yourself.

Try to convey to the interviewer that although you don’t know the answer but, you are willing to take the effort to learn the answer to that question after the interview.

This way you lose nothing on that question rather get bonus points for your honesty. Admitting something that you don’t know is a good quality and the interviewer will appreciate it.

T4: Don’t use a simple “NO” !

A simple NO can finish off your impression; additionally, the following silence can be awkward.

Instead of using a simple “No” in your answer use phrases like “No, but” and go on to explain something you know that is closely related to the question. This way the interviewer would feel that even though you don’t know the exact answer but you know at least something about the field.

Let’s take up an example here. Suppose you are sitting in an interview, and the interviewee asks you questions on adobe Photoshop photo editing tool, the answer to which you are not quite sure about, but you are well versed about the comparable tool called Canva so this is how you should answer the question:

Answer: Frankly speaking, I don’t have much experience with photoshop but I do have experience with an editing tool called Canva. The tool is similar to Adobe and is used for editing images, though it has some limitations when compared to Adobe software. But for the last couple of years, canva has helped me go through all my tasks with ease and also helped me in extending my knowledge and enhance my skill on colour combination choices, various text and other parameters making creative much better. Though, I would be happy to learn about Photoshop if given the opportunity.

It’s a simple but very powerful technique. It allows you to take the interview back on track and focus on other things on offer.

T5: Show you are Adaptable!

It is not sufficient to say “I am adaptable.” You have to give evidence for your adaptability, try to convince them that no matter how hard the situation is you are ready to fight hard for it and overcome the situation. Give instances where your adaptability helped you overcome a difficult situation.

Just don’t surrender on the question. Show disposition to learn new ways or capability to take on new tasks.

T6 : Ask questions for clarifications.

You may not understand the question immediately and often may need a clarification, so it’s not a wise idea to start answering without getting the full picture. In such a circumstance, you may request interviewee to elaborate the question or maybe rephrase it.

Example:

  • That’s a new idea for me, could you please explain a bit more as to what you are expecting
  • Could you be elaborate on same, where would you like me to start?

T7: Don’t just hear, listen carefully

Even before you greet your recruiters, it is important to stay focused and clear your head of all distractions. You need to be present physically and mentally.

Observe the facial expressions and body language of the interviewer to understand what is expected from you. This will help you to read between the lines and form a clear answer.

T8: Don’t Shoot in Dark!

One of the major misconception people have is that they think they get hired because of their qualifications. But the truth is that your qualifications only get you till the job interview. You ultimately get hired for your effectiveness and the matching of your skills to the requirements of the job.

So, it’s okay if you don’t know the answer but giving an inappropriate response to the interviewer can end the interview on a wrong note.

You have to be clear in your mind about what the job interviewer needs to know and whether you can answer it or not.

In Conclusion:

A successful interview is only possible when you have prepared and researched on your concerned company, its functioning methods, case studies, competitors and the overall outlook and purpose. The questions and answers are designed to be as specific and realistic as possible.

Your ultimate aim should be to show the employer that you are open-minded and ready to handle tough situations despite your lack of knowledge, via your willingness to learn and adapt.

Make sure to implement the points above if you are stuck in a difficult situation and you will surely succeed in convincing the employer that you are indeed a perfect fit for the job. We wish you a happy and successful interview.

Are you are still preparing for your interview and wondering what questions the interviewer can ask? Then do check out our comprehensive guide on: 48 common interview questions and how to answer them. This guide contains tips and tricks to the most frequently asked interview questions, along with sample answers!

Leave a comment about how your job interview went. Best of Luck ☺

Author BIO

Abhyank Srinet holds a Masters in Management degree from ESCP Europe & has an engineering degree with a specialization in Instrumentation & Control. His interest in the digital landscape motivated him to create an online startup for Masters in Management application consulting (MiM-Essay.com), focused on spreading quality information about the MiM degree & performing application consulting services for clients. He is the chief consultant of the company and takes care of Business Development and Digital Marketing side of the company. He is very passionate about writing and marketing.

Don’t know an answer during a job interview? Tips on how to tackle this situation
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