The thought of not being able to answer an important question can be quite scary, so here are a few things you should do if you are stumped in the middle of the interview. You should know that this happens more often than you might think, so try not to panic. Even though the silence can seem excruciating, being prepared for not being able to answer a question can help you relax a bit and make the most of a difficult situation. So if you are strapped for an answer the next time you are at a job interview, here are a few important things you should do:
1. Stay Calm
One of the most important things you should do if you are stumped during a job interview is to make sure that you don’t panic. Just calm down because once you start a stress response, you won’t be able to think clearly and you might give answers without thinking. Just breathe and tell yourself that it’s okay to not know the answer to every question you are asked and if you stay calm, you’ll find an answer.
2. Don’t Say “I Don’t Know”
Even if you feel stumped, try not to tell the interviewer that you don’t know the answer to their question without mulling it over. Also, try not to make up stuff because your potential employer might know that you are lying and you will diminish your chances of getting that job. Just keep in mind that interview questions are asked not just to get an answer but so that the interviewer can gain some insight on how you answer a question.
3. Ask Questions
You might not know how to answer an interview question because you didn’t understand the question correctly, so ask the employer to give you more details or to clarify what they said. They might help you figure out what they expect from you and you’ll also have more time to come up with an answer.
4. Tell the Interviewer How You Would Find an Answer
Even if you don’t know the right answer for their question, you can tell the interviewer how you would find that answer; more precisely what steps you need to take to figure out the problem. Interviewers want to see that you take initiative, that you don’t give up and that you have the resources to find a solution on your own.
5. Buy Some Time
Another thing you can do if you are feeling stumped during a job interview is to try to buy yourself some time so you’ll be able to come up with the right answer. For example, you could try rephrasing the interviewer’s question or even ask for clarification.
6. Know the Right Time to Come Clean
Even though it’s not a good idea to admit that you don’t know the answer to one of the interviewer’s question, there is an exception to this rule. If the answer that is expected from you is something that you will know only through learning or memorization (like a definition), then it’s best to admit that you don’t know the answer. You could tell them that you are sorry you can’t provide them with an answer at the moment but assure them that you will do some research and that you will be able to follow up with the answer after the interview if required.
7. Send a Follow-up E-mail
If you are stumped during a job interview, try to do your research afterwards and include it as a part of your follow-up communication. Make sure that you are only naming the mistakes the interviewer caught and try not to draw attention to the ones they didn’t catch.
If you are stumped during a job interview try not to make up stuff to look good, be honest, stay calm and you’ll find the right answer in no time. Do you know any other things someone should do if they are stumped during a job interview? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section!