How To Respond When You Don't Know The Answer
Interview Questions & Answers

How To Respond When You Don’t Know The Answer Of An Interview Question


Sometimes even after covering all sorts of information to prepare for the interview, you get stumbled down by that one question you never thought would be asked.


And then you find yourself in a situation, where there are a thousand of things in your mind, panel members are staring at you and you just have no idea what to say and then there is an awkward silence.


This is one of the worst scenarios. How you respond or tackle this situation can make or break your interview. So let’s dig deep into such kind of scenarios and how you can deal with it.



Understand the objective behind the question :



Sometimes interviewer intentionally asks such questions where they know you don’t know the answer, they just want to check your critical thinking and how you can handle the situation.

So don’t push yourself to give the exact answer if you don’t know one. Just find out a way to handle such a situation in a dignified manner.



Avoid Such Responses :



Don’t Lie: As interviewer are quick to judge and there will definitely be follow up questions and if you are unable to answer them then you surely are going to get rejected.



Don’t panic: You don’t know the answer, its ok. Take a deep breath and not lose your calm. As if you panic, you will not be able to think straight and this will create a really bad impression.

 How to deal with nervousness in an interview



Don’t say “No”: Yes, interviewer appreciate the honesty but it’s up to you how to deliver that honestly.

If you are straight away saying “I don’t know” then you are creating the impression that you don’t know neither you are going to make effort to learn about this.





How to handle such questions :


First thing, maintain your calm, do not blabber instead say something smart and do not just stay numb.


Basically, you need to convey that although you do not know the answer, you are willing to go an extra mile to learn about this and this is something which will not stop you from delivering value.




 1. When you know something about the topic but not the exact answer :


If this is the case then you can save yourself by confidently saying “I have not gotten the chance to explore this thing particularly but I am knowledgeable about this (talk about something related) and then conclude by saying that I will be examining this area in-depth now and would definitely  gather more insights.”



2. If you have forgotten something :


If you say that you have totally forgotten about this, then this will create a bad impression. Try to cover it up by speaking about instances when you have worked on this skill and say that since its been years you worked on this thing, you need some time to brush up core concept and then elaborate how you have learned other skills related to this one.




3. When you just don’t know anything at all :


Sometime the question will be such that you don’t know anything even remotely related to it and you know you can not trick the interviewer then ask for more clarification. You might pick up something to say after getting clarification but if you don’t get anything after this, then that’s the only time you have to be straight away honest and say that “I really do not know anything relevant to say but I will make sure to learn this thing first and if you can throw some more light on this subject then it will be very much beneficial to me”.

Or if you think that you can redirect this question then do that by relating it to some other thing and then mentioning some interesting fact about it and then engaging the interviewer by asking a question from him about this.




So this is how you can save yourself in an awkward situation like this one. Do not let such questions affect your confidence, else you will not be able to answer even those questions where you know the answers.








Read More Interviews Tips:   How To Improve Selection Chances In An Interview
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