Over the last two weeks, we have discussed a common interview question and job interview secrets. This week we want to talk about what steps you can follow when asked a question you are unsure how to answer. We have all experienced this situation. You have prepared for your interview but, suddenly, you are faced with a question that puzzles you. What do you do? What do you say?

Ask to rephrase the question

Ask the interviewer to rephrase the question to give you more insight into what they are looking for. In doing this, the interviewer will need to collect their own thoughts and think of a way to ask the question in a more clear and concise way. In turn, this will give you time to consider your answer. It may also turn the question from one that you are unsure of, into one that you feel confident in answering. Remember! If you are not sure what they are asking, ask for clarity.

Pause for a moment

You do not have to rush to answer. The person (or people) conducting the interview do not expect you to know every answer immediately. If you find yourself doubting how to answer the question, take a moment. You can ask for a second to think about it by saying something like, “That is a great question”. You can consider using nonverbal communication to indicate that you are contemplating your answer. You can use this opportunity to have a sip of water, take a deep breath, and pause. Often, we feel the need to fill quiet space with unnecessary words. Take your time to think about what you want to say, and make your words count.

Remove “I don’t know” from your vocabulary

If you find yourself completely unsure as to how to answer a specific question, be sure not to respond with, “I don’t know”. From the interviewer’s perspective, consider that you are hired for this position and are asked something from a colleague. They want to see that you will seek to find an answer. If you do not have experience with the exact situation, program, or example they use, think of something similar. For example, “While I do not have experience with that specific software, I do have extensive experience with this software.” Here, you are showing the potential employer that you have similar relatable experiences, and those skills will be considered.

If you find yourself struggling through the interview and realize you do not have the specific experience for which they are looking for, you can admit that. They may recognize the valuable skills you do have and see you as someone they can train. In doing this, you are showing them that you can acknowledge your weaknesses, and that you are genuinely interested in being the best for the business or organization, which is a strength.

We know interviews can be stressful, but they do not have to be! Our team would love to help you prepare for your next interview. Contact us today and let us get started.