Have you ever been in an interview where your nervousness tripped you up? We all have, and what usually happens is you draw a blank when trying to answer a question. It’s a terrible feeling that can lead to you assuming you blew the interview and won’t get the offer. Fortunately, we have some tricks to help you recover your equilibrium quickly and keep the interview moving forward.

Tricks to Avoid Saying “I don’t know”

Prepping for interview questions is an important part of landing the job. You should always review your resume and practice answering questions about why you left your last job, what you learned, and some of the other most common questions you think you’ll be asked.  But even when you feel fully prepared it’s possible you’ll get a curveball question that you simply don’t know the answer to. What should you do in this situation?

Slow down and take a deep breath. You can fill the silence by acknowledging you’re thinking. Say something like, “That’s a great question. Let me think about it.” Gather your thoughts and do your best. You should also feel free to ask questions before attempting to answer the question, which may jog or memory a little more. Above all, don’t panic and don’t make up an answer.

Thinking out loud isn’t necessarily a bad idea either, because the hiring team is likely interested in how you problem solve. If you don’t know the answer right away, just talk it out in a few concrete sentences.

Redirect the interviewer by moving the discussion into an area you’re more comfortable with. While you may not be able to speak to one particular skill, what are some similar skills that you can discuss that still add value for the interviewer? This technique is certainly better than just admitting you don’t have an answer to the question. So, share what you do know with the interviewer.

Tell them how you would find the answer. That will show them your resourcefulness. Admit what you don’t know but then share with the interviewer the steps you would take to figure out the problem. For example, if the question is math-related, say, “I can’t do the math in my head,” but I would complete a calculation (describe it) to get the answer.

Have a fallback strategy in case none of these other techniques work. If you get a question that won’t work with a redirect, by thinking out loud, or by slowing the interview down so you can think, then recognize that you’ll simply have to work through the question with some educated guesswork about the position and the company you’re applying for.

You can also say you’ll provide the interviewer with the data after the interview is over. That shows good follow through and commitment. You can send the answer in a follow-up email thanking them for their time but also providing solutions to the problem or answers to the question that tripped you up during the interview.

To prepare for your next interview, call IES Custom Staffing. We can help you find the best jobs and prepare to land them. Contact our staffing professionals us today.

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