Job interviews are a mix of excitement and nerves, a bit like riding a rollercoaster.
But imagine reaching a point where you’re asked a question and suddenly you’re not sure what to say. It’s that moment of uncertainty we all fear.
It’s a bit like standing at a crossroads, not knowing which way to go.
This is the phase where most candidates go wrong and lose their opportunity to get their dream job.
But not anymore!
In this article, we’re going to explore that scary feeling, understand the common mistakes candidates make in such situations, and, most importantly, learn how to turn those scary moments into something positive.
So, buckle up, and let’s conquer the interview maze together
Why Do Candidates Struggle to Answer?
Let us first understand why candidates mostly get stuck while answering the interview questions.
– The Big Fear of Not Being Perfect
Job interviews come with a big fear, the fear of not being perfect. It’s like everyone expects you to have all the right answers, and that expectation adds a ton of pressure.
Feeling the pressure to impress
There’s a strong emphasis on doing well in academics and building a successful professional life, intensifying the pressure. It’s not just about answering questions; it’s about showcasing perfection.
Imagine you’re on stage, and everyone’s waiting for a flawless performance. That’s the weight candidates feel – the need to be perfect.
Dealing with nervousness
Interviews are often seen as crucial moments that can shape your future.
This cultural significance amplifies nervousness, and this can get so overwhelming that words get jumbled and responses may not be as sharp as you’d like them to be.
Additional factors contributing to nervousness are:
- Fear of judgment:
- Candidates fear not just the questions but also the judgment that comes with their answers. The thought of being evaluated can heighten nervousness to the point of feeling paralyzed.
- High stakes of the moment:
- The realization that this interview could shape your future career path adds immense pressure. The higher the stakes, the more nervous one tends to become, often resulting in mental blocks.
- Unfamiliar interview environment:
- Being in an unfamiliar setting with evaluators scrutinizing your every word can be unnerving. The discomfort of the unknown environment contributes to nervousness, leading to moments of blanking out.
What Most Candidates Do Wrong in This Situation
– The Problem of Not Being Real
One of the common pitfalls candidates often stumble into is not being real. It’s like trying to be someone you’re not, just to impress.
Let’s break down why this happens and how it affects your chances in an interview.
Being real matters
No doubt that authenticity is the secret sauce.
Interviewers appreciate candidates who bring their true selves to the table. Imagine you’re at a family dinner, and someone is putting on a show – it feels off, right? The same goes for interviews.
Trying too hard to be perfect, to give answers you think they want to hear, can backfire.
Panicking doesn’t help
Now, let’s talk about the other trap – panicking. When faced with a tough question, some candidates hit the panic button.
Here’s why panicking doesn’t do you any favors:
- Creating the Wrong Impression:
- In an interview, panicking or shutting down sends the same message – it creates an impression of unreadiness.
- Employers want someone who can handle the twists and turns of the job, not someone who taps out when things get tricky.
- Impact on candidacy:
- Think of it as a job audition. If you freeze in the middle of your lines, it’s not a great look.
- It impacts your candidacy because it raises questions about your ability to handle pressure.
Now that we’ve discussed this, why do candidates become blacklisted in interviews and what do they do wrong in this situation when they don’t know what they should answer?
So, now let’s talk about the right moves a candidate should take when they don’t know the answer to any interview question.
Let’s first talk about the mindset.
Related : How to overcome interview anxiety?
What Should an Ideal Candidate Do?
– Keeping Cool and Showing What You’ve Got
Being an ideal candidate is not about being flawless; it’s about how you handle imperfections.
Here’s how you should ace those unexpected questions and showcase your best self.
Being ready for anything
An ideal candidate doesn’t panic; they thrive.
Use these moments to show off your adaptability and your knack for handling challenges that pop up out of nowhere.
Employers love candidates who can roll with the punches. Unexpected questions are not roadblocks; they’re your chance to stand out.
That confidence in handling surprises sets you apart.
Admitting mistakes with a smile
Nobody’s perfect, and an ideal candidate knows that. If you make a mistake, don’t hide it; embrace it with a smile.
Acknowledge imperfections with humility and a positive attitude. This humanizes the interaction, making you more relatable. When you admit a mistake with a smile, it shows self-awareness and a willingness to learn.
Interviewers appreciate honesty over perfection.
Handling challenges in a smart way
An ideal candidate knows it’s not about being flawless but about being smart in the face of challenges.
Shift the focus from trying to be perfect to showcasing your problem-solving skills.
Employers want to know you won’t get frustrated when things don’t go as planned.
When you show that you’re not just about looking good on paper but can handle challenges with smarts and composure, you become the candidate they remember.
10 Sample Answers to Use
1. Admitting the need for research:
“I appreciate the complexity of your question. I would need to delve deeper into this specific area to provide you with a well-informed response. However, I am committed to learning and would eagerly research and get back to you.”
2. Emphasizing learning agility:
“While I may not have an immediate answer, I pride myself on being a quick learner. If faced with a similar situation in the role, I am confident in my ability to swiftly grasp the necessary knowledge and provide a comprehensive response.”
3. Seeking clarification:
“I want to ensure I understand your question correctly. Could you please provide additional context or rephrase the question? I want to provide the most accurate and relevant response.”
4. Highlighting problem-solving skills:
“This is indeed a challenging question. To approach it effectively, I would break down the problem into smaller components and systematically analyze each part to arrive at a well-thought-out solution.”
5. Redirecting to strengths:
“While I may not have direct experience in that area, I have excelled in [mention a relevant skill or area of expertise]. I believe my proficiency in [your strength] would contribute significantly to the role, and I am eager to learn and adapt.”
6. Expressing willingness to collaborate:
“I find this question intriguing, and it highlights the importance of collaboration. In a team setting, I would leverage the collective knowledge and skills of my colleagues to arrive at a comprehensive solution.”
7. Turning the question into a discussion:
“This is a thought-provoking question. I would love to explore it further with you. Could we discuss it together, allowing me to better understand your perspective and refine my response in real-time?”
8. Acknowledging limitations with positivity:
“I appreciate your challenging question. While I may not have a definitive answer at the moment, I am excited about the opportunity to learn and grow in this area, adding value to the team.”
9. Connecting to personal experiences:
“I haven’t encountered a situation exactly like this, but it reminds me of [share a relevant personal or professional experience]. Drawing from that experience, I would approach it by [describe your approach based on the past experience].”
10. Expressing a willingness to consult experts:
“This question delves into a specialized area, and I believe in leveraging expertise. If faced with this in a professional setting, I would consult with colleagues or experts in the field to ensure a comprehensive and accurate response.”