Stumped in an Interview. What to Do.

Stumped in an Interview. What to Do.

I Was Not Expecting That! How to handle an interview question that takes you by surprise.

You may have prepared over and over for the interview, feel confident in questions you will be asked and how you are going to answer them. Then, boom, a killer question that totally takes you by surprise and leaves you stumped as to how to answer it.

1. Ask for Clarification
If unsure, ask for clarification to ensure you haven’t misinterpreted the question. Be sure you understand what you are being asked, if not ask if they can give you an example. This will help you formulate an answer that you can be confident about.
2. Take Your Time
You may feel that taking time and being silent isn’t something you should do in an interview. But it’s actually okay if you ask for a moment to gather your thoughts. Better this than say too quickly that you don’t know or babble. If you are still struggling you can ask to come back to the question but it’s a risk that it overtakes your thoughts and makes it difficult to answer further questions.
3. Don’t Guess
Don’t simply make something up, it will be obvious to the interviewer.
4. Methodolgy
Depending on the question, you may be able to say I’m not sure about the answer but this is how I would investigate/work it out/come to a conclusion. This shows the interviewer your thought process.
5. I Cannot Answer It
If you absolutely cannot answer then you may have to admit that and say you would like to give this more thought and come back with your answer after the interview. Ensure you have an email address to respond on and make sure you do follow up.

Not knowing how to answer a question is unlikely to be a deal breaker but how you conduct yourself in the situation could be. Remain calm and professional, the curve-ball question might just be testing how you react in this situation rather than the answer you give.

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