If you are not aware of how to answer a question during an interview, the silence can seem extremely painful. Do not panic, though — Note down the following tips on your mind before you attend your next or upcoming interview.
1. Calm down.
The foremost important thing to do is stay calm. As you start freaking out, your body will begin reacting physiologically. Your interviewer may notice it clearly. For instance, your blood pressure will start rising, and your heart may beat faster. Once you start taking stress, you won’t be able to think it deeply, so your answer may be senseless. Take deep breaths, and tell yourself that it’s OK to not know the answer to the question. You’ll just have to work through it; there’s nothing you can do to change things, but you need to stay calm to find the right answer.
2. Avoid Saying, “I don’t know,” .
You should not tell the interviewer you don’t know the answer without thinking it over. Be careful, Do not handle this situation badly, because your interviewer can see right through that.
3. Ask questions to your Interviewer.
You may not understand the question. In that case, ask your interviewer to clarify what they said. Go deeper into the question to see if you can get more details that will help you figure it out.
4. Tell your interviewer what you do know.
If you do have some knowledge regarding the question, do not hesitate to tell your interviewer what you do know of the situation. Saying everything out loud can start you on the process of figuring out the problem.
5. Tell them how you would find the answer.
Even if you don’t know what the answer is, you can tell the interviewer the steps you would take to figure out the problem. Interviewers may ask you a difficult questions to analyze your thought process. Sometimes, the thought process may be more important than the actual answer. They want to see that you can take initiative and have the resources to come up with a solution on your own, instead of needing someone to hold your hand through problems. Be honest, so that the hiring manager will know you are not trying to fake it. For example, if you need to calculate something and you’re not good at mathematics, you can respond with “I can’t do the calculations off the top of my head, but I think these calculations will give me the answer. And what I can do is use a calculator to find that answer.” Remember, Honesty is the best Policy.
6. Know the right time to come clean.
Although we mentioned not admitting to the interviewer that you don’t know the answer, there is an exception to this rule. If the answer is something that you will only know through memorization, such as a definition of the word, then it’s probably best to admit that you don’t know the answer, as it may be impossible to figure it out independently. Here’s what you can tell the interviewer: “It’s a good question, but I’m sorry, I don’t have the answer off the top of my head. I will be sure to follow up with the answer after the interview.”
7. Send a follow-up email.
The follow-up email could become your second chance. Try to talk about the answer you were confused, but be smooth when you’re talking about it. Ensure, you’re only naming the mistakes your interviewer caught and not drawing attention to the ones they did not catch. Don’t say something like “I’m sorry I did not know the answer to that question.” Instead, tell her that after more time and thought, you managed to come up with a couple of solutions that could work for the problem.