How to respond when you don't know the answer to an interview question.

Sometimes, even after covering all sorts of information to prepare for an interview, you can get stumbled down by that ONE question you never thought you would be asked… you then find yourself in a situation where there are a thousand things in your mind, while the interviewer(s) is staring at you, and you have NO IDEA what to say… which results in awkward silence!

We’ve all been there. It is one of the worst scenarios to experience.

How your response or tackle this kind of situation can make or break an interview. Let’s guide you through the different kinds of scenarios and how to deal with them:


Sometimes, interviewers just want to check your critical thinking and how you can handle the situation; don’t push yourself to give the exact answer if you don’t know one. Just find a way to handle the situation in a dignified manner.


Don’t lie…

Don’t panic…

If you don’t know the answer, that's ok. Take a deep breath. If you panic, you will not be able to think straight and you don't want that, especially if one of your skills on your CV highlights that you ‘work well under pressure'...


Don’s respond with ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’ to a question. This will more than likely create the impression that you will not make the effort to learn about this. Interviewers do appreciate honesty, but they appreciate willingness more.


First, maintain your calm, do not blabber, instead, say something smart and do not just stay numb. In conclusion, you need to convey that although you do not know the answer, you are willing to go the extra mile to stop and learn about this.

1. When you know something about the topic but not the exact answer:

Save yourself by confidently saying… “I have not gotten the chance to explore this thing particularly, but I am knowledgeable about this (talk about something in relation)” and then concludes by saying that “I will be examining this area in-depth now and would definitely gather more insights”.

2. If you have forgotten something:

DO NOT say you have completely forgotten something! Try to cover it up by speaking about instances when you have worked on this skill and say that since it's been years you worked on this thing, you need some time to brush up on core content and then elaborate on other skills in relation.

3. When you just don’t know anything at all:

Sometimes, the question will be something you have never come across before and you can not trick the interviewers to ask for more clarification. If so the best response to these sorts of questions would be… “I really do not know anything relevant to say but I will make sure to learn this thing and if you can shine some more light on this subject then it will be very beneficial to me”.

Using these tips will definitely save you during an interview, so make sure you've taken notes. Such questions can affect your confidence in future interviews!

For more information, please get in touch: | 01614704597

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