Don’t know the answer to an interview question? Here’s what you can do.

interview question answer

No matter how hard one prepares for an interview, it is impossible to predict and practice for each and every question that the interviewer can throw at you. So, what do you do if you are asked a question that you have not prepared for?

You need to understand that interviewers are not seeking a “know it all” candidate. They are very well aware of the fact that no candidate can be omniscient. What they are more interested in is the way you handle these questions and this will eventually determine the impression you leave on the interviewer.

To prepare yourself for a perfect interview, you need to understand what kind of candidate the employers are looking for before making an offer –

  • 36% look for multitasking skills
  • 31% look for initiative
  • 21% look for creative thinking
  • 12% look for attitude

Employeer's view

Here are some tips and suggestions on how to give perfect interview:

1. Show you are eager to learn:


Whenever you find yourself stuck in a tricky question about a topic of which you have limited idea about, try not to answer the interviewer immediately. Compose your thoughts on how much you know about the topic and show that you have a strong desire to learn.

Question: How familiar are you with tally 9.0 and how we can use it for our administration department?

Answer: Well, I know about the software as it is useful when handling different accounts efficiently. I have seen it being used in various places including my previous company where we were using Tally to handle the entire ERP operations. However, I have not worked on it myself but am looking forward to learn it.

2. Never give vague answers:


It is not necessary to be adaptive in every situation because interviewers do not like vague answers.So, if you have no idea about the question asked by an interviewer, then never try to beat around the bush.

Question: What are your views about the latest digital marketing tools used by many big firms?

Answer: I am not familiar with many digital marketing tools. I have worked on Google AdWords and have handled campaigns on PPC and CPA campaigns. I have worked also worked on email marketing campaigns using Mail Chimp. However, I would not categorise them as the latest tools in the market as they have been prevalent for a while now, specially in case of AdWords.

3. Try to display your strengths:


When an interviewer asks a questions which closely matches your forte, try to use it as a platform to highlight your strengths and accomplishments

Question: Have you done any graphic designing on Adobe suite?

Answer: I have worked on Adobe Photoshop and I am very proficient in Lightroom. I have a strong passion for photography and I edit all my photos and videos on Photo shop and Lightroom. I create a lot of content professionally as well as for my person social media accounts. These forays into photo and video editing peaked my interest in graphic designing and I just started working on Premiere Pro and Illustrator and learning about ways that I could use them to put more innovative content in the market.

4. Clarify the question before you answer:

Tips: Sometimes, you may be questioned on your own answers. So be vigilant on the kind of questions and answers that are being exchanged. In case you are not sure about the question, ask and clarify what the interviewer is questioning you about, rather than diving straight into the answer. You use clarification phrases such as,‘Sir/Ma’am can you please rephrase the question?’.

Question: What’s your opinion about the synergy of a team and doesdomination

and fear factor of your boss be a positive or a negative factor in the overall team success, and how does this effect the team harmony?

Answer: Sir, I am not really clear about the question could you expand on the same or could you please rephrase it?

5. Be calm and confident:


Whenever you find yourself stuck in any non-familiar question, the first thing you need todo is, control your demeanour and not show confusion or nervousness on your face. Sometimesthe answer doesn’t matter, the interviewer just wants to check your emotional intelligence, confidence, and presence of mind of the candidate.

Question: Have you ever been in the situation where you are managing a team where your colleagues couldn’t work with each other?

Answer: Well, I never experienced this situation so far in my professional life, but if I were to be in such a situation, then I will try to handle the situation by trying to findthe best possible solution under the given circumstance. Firstly, I will try to mediate between them,listen to their grievances and try to identify the root cause, so that further discussion can be done. Then if they have personal issues then I will change their team and will make sure that they may not create any friction in the team’s performance.

Additionally, I will make them understand the importance of setting a aside personal difference and working towards a common team goal.


As you would have noticed, there are several tactics to employ when faced with a question on an unfamiliar topic. Apart from the tips that have been listed above, you should focus on having a strong grip on your body language to make sure that you exude an impression of confidence during the interview. Having a positive attitude and maintaining composure during the interview is also essential. Preparation and homework about the job profile, company and industry will go a long way in this regard. Try to highlight your creativity, multi-tasking skills and ability to take initiative whenever possible.

Lastly, you need to follow thin line between trying not to say no to a question immediately and beating around the bush. Try to connect the topic of the question to different experiences that you have had in professional or personal life, and build on it. Remember, the interviewer is trying the ascertain your reaction in different stations, so you need to highlight the fact that you are ready for anything that is thrown at you.



One thought on “Don’t know the answer to an interview question? Here’s what you can do.”

  1. Sneaky! I never had any problems with answering questions but I also was recruting some people for my company so I see how many problems people have to answer even basic questions.

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