July 14, 2014

Is it OK to say “I don’t know” in an interview?

QAWhy is it that some job questions are easy to answer, while others are so hard? More importantly, what should you do if you don’t know what to say? Let’s start with the don’ts:

1.     Don’t lie

You may be worried about the consequences of not knowing the answer, but it is far worse to lie. If it’s something you should know, maybe this is not the right position. However, if it is a bit of an strange question, they could be more interested in how you answer.

2.     Don’t panic

Take a deep breath and think about the question. If you know the answer, you’re more likely to say the right thing or remember if you are calm.

3.     Don’t lack preparation

Do your RESEARCH. There are some standard questions you should expect to be asked in most job interviews:

–        Why do you want to work here?

–        What makes you the best candidate for this position?

–        Where do you see yourself in five years?

–        What do you know about the company?

–        What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Preparation and research are key to a good interview. Also if there are technical aspects to the position, brush up your knowledge – don’t assume that because you can perform a task without thinking you will be able to explain that process when asked.

But is it possible to have a good job interview if one of your answers is “I don’t know”? Well, if the question relates to a key part of the job, it may be tough. But some of these do’s may be helpful:

1.            Do ask if they would mind rephrasing the question as you’re not certain you

2.            Do try to get more information by answering a question with your own question.

3.            Do research the question afterwards and follow up by email with an answer – if you were totally stumped, it’s a great way to demonstrate an interest in the job.

You might not have all the answers, but the way you answer interview questions can tell a possible employer a lot about you – be honest, prepare thoroughly, and you’ll be more likely to impress. Will you definitely get the job? I don’t know – but I sure hope so!

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