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What to Do When You Don’t Know How to Answer an Interview Question

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What to Do When You Don’t Know How to Answer an Interview Question

So you’ve prepared flawlessly for your interview. You’re full of interesting anecdotes that will show how perfect you are for the job. You look great, and you feel even better. You’re incredibly confident. Then your interviewer asks a question you could never have predicted. Now what? Here’s how to make it through a tricky interview question without losing your cool.

Take a Moment

Drink some water or simply take a few deep breaths. During this time, think through your job history, or even your non-work experiences such as volunteer positions or college clubs. Is there anything in your past that’s relevant to the question?

Ask for Clarification

Occasionally, an interviewer will ask a tricky interview question that’s designed to make you think on your feet. Most of the time, though, the interviewer just wants to understand what you might do in common high-pressure situations that may come up in the role. So if a direct answer doesn’t spring to mind, ask if you can share something related. For example, if you’ve never had a problematic client, you may be able to talk about your relationship with a difficult vendor instead.

Be Honest

Making up a story will only make you look bad. Most people have “tells” that show when they’re lying, and most hiring managers know to look for them. Instead, be totally honest, but always offer an alternative. For example, you might say, “I’ve never been in that situation. But here’s how I imagine I would react.”

Think It Through

Whatever answer you decide to give, you’re not being judged on your speed. Tell the interviewer that you’re considering which past experience best relates to the question, or that you’re determining how best to frame your answer. Then take the time that you need to develop an honest, well-constructed response that fully answers the question.

Avoid Fillers

While it’s fine to take some time to develop your thoughts, resist the urge to use filler sounds such as “um” or “uh.” These make you sound less professional and less confident. Instead, simply breathe and maintain your poise.

If you’re ready to take the first steps into your future, contact Pro Resources today.