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When you don’t know answer to a question during an interview

January 16, 2014

What's that

It has been a long time since I posted in this category of Workplace Encounters but coming along is a post that very rightly makes to the list of every HR pros’s workplace encounter.

An interview, is really a testing time for everyone. While some questions are fun to answer, others make  brain go freezing.But what to do when you don’t know answer to  a question, during an interview?

Before I share how I chose to respond to such a situation, I am tempted to share some amusing responses  I have been a witness to

  • That wasn’t part of my KRA
  • A cross question – Now what is that?
  • A blank stare
  • Never heard of it.. It that something new?
  • Sorry, next question please..
  • Can’t think of it right now.

Like most experts advice, when you don’t  just say it. Admitting that you do not know an answer does no harm. It is not a matter of embarrassment neither is your selection dependent on just this answer. In fact, it mostly depends on how well you conduct yourself and how well you handle an uncomfortable moment during any interview.

What do I do? Well, I say …”Sorry, I am not too sure about this” and add whatever little information/knowledge I have about it (if any). It saves you from being considered completely ignorant.

What’s your take on this? What according to you is the best way to handle this situation during an interview?


From → Workplace

  1. My advise has been be transparent, flexible in your approach during any meetings. Being honest to an answer ‘No’ is appreciable but, that shows the rigid mindset of the individual. Instead go with open mindset and flexible thoughts so that you can either fit into the role or make alternate changes to fit yourselves to the role. Finally it would be your choice to say ‘NO’….

    • Thanks for adding to the conversation Raghunandan..You are right,being honest yet flexible is appreciated always.

  2. It is perfectly cool to be honest and let the interviewer/s know that you aren’t aware of the answer. What matters is the next question : ‘how come you are not aware of it?’

    • Hey Nupur,

      That’s true, being honest can save one from false pretension..Answering subsequent questions comes easier this way.

  3. paras khatri permalink

    preparedness for interview can save one from such situation, however, may not b completely. but knowing ur profile and studying & bit of research on JD can help to tackle possible questions. many a times Interviewer also learn during interviews. so never assume. that interviewer knows everything: )

    • Thanks Paras,
      Yes, not knowing whats written (by you ofcourse) in your resume is the biggest turn-off for an interviewer.
      Appreciate feedback for you always 🙂

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