What if I Can't Answer a Question?

Nancy Anderson
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It is common for job seekers to prepare heavily for a job interview. However, it may seem like nothing prepares you for interview questions you just cannot answer. When faced with a question that stumps you, employ these tips to regain your composure and make a positive impression.

Calm Your Nerves

If you show that you are overly nervous, it may imply to the interviewer that you are hiding something or unprepared for the job interview. When faced with a question that you cannot answer, take a few deep breaths before attempting to compose an answer. While it's likely your body shows some signs of nervousness, avoid showing the stress you are feeling. Don't fidget with your clothing or accessories, and keep a smile on your face while exploring possible ways to respond.

Remain Honest

Even though you may be tempted to say "I don't know" right away, take a moment to think through how to answer the question honestly. For example, if the hiring manager asks you how to navigate through a problem that you are not familiar with, avoid trying to make up an answer. Instead, honestly state that you are not familiar with that process, but then show how you would navigate through a problem in the workforce that is similar. This type of response to difficult interview questions during a job interview shows off your ability to problem solve, even when you are unsure of a process.

Focus on What You Know

When posed with a question that you cannot answer, divert toward what you do know. For instance, if an interviewer wants to know about challenging co-workers you have worked with during a job interview, you can state that you have not necessarily encountered animosity in the workplace, but you can offer examples of how you have successfully worked with teams and completed projects to a client's satisfaction. Stay focused on examples that detail your problem-solving abilities and seek out solutions that cater to client needs and utilize your skills.

Ask Your Own Questions

Many times, you may become stumped during a job interview because you do not understand the question. Instead of stumbling through a question, ask follow-up questions to gain clarity. Honestly state that you do not understand the question and inquire about specifics so the hiring manager poses a question that is much clearer, affording you with the opportunity to answer thoroughly and accurately.

Maintain composure when asked questions that are difficult to answer. When job seekers showcase their professional nature during a job interview and attempt to provide specific examples of their success and skills, they have a much better opportunity to divert awkward moments that might cause the hiring manager to doubt their qualifications.

Photo Courtesy of bm_adverts at Flickr.com


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