How to Quickly Recover From an Interview Question You Can’t Answer

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It’s the stuff of nightmares. You’re in the middle of an interview, answering questions with ease. Suddenly, the hiring manager throws out a curveball question. You either don’t know the answer or aren’t quite sure how to respond. You freeze, then what?

How you handle this kind of situation can make or break whether you get a call for an offer – or get crossed off the list. To help ensure it’s a positive outcome, here are some interviewing tips for recovering from a question you can’t answer:

Respond with a question.

If you’re not quite sure what the hiring manager is asking or you simply need to stall for time, then respond with a question. Ask them to clarify what they mean or tell them you’re not sure you’re understanding correctly. This will help you get a better sense of what they’re really looking for so you can actually respond to the question with accurate information.

Say that you don’t know.

It goes against everything you’ve been told. But when in doubt, simply state something like, “I’m not sure the answer to that question; however, I do know that I’d be an excellent fit for this position because of A, B, and C.” This shows the hiring manager what you’re capable of, including the fact that you can think quickly on your feet, which is a valuable trait.

Share a similar experience.

If you don’t have the answer to a specific question, such as “how would you fix X challenge at our company,” then share a similar success story. For instance, state that you experienced a comparable challenge with a past employer and talk about how you went about dealing with, as well as the outcome. Again, this shows the hiring manager that you can think on the spot and also demonstrates your proven track record.

The best way to ensure you’re not messing up during a job interview is to prepare in-depth ahead of time. If you’d like professional help doing so, turn to the interview prep experts at ResumeSpice for help. We know what hiring managers are looking for in candidates and can help you respond to interview questions with ease and confidence. Learn out more by reaching out to our team at 832.930.7378 or by contacting us online.