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What to do instead of saying “I don’t know” in a job interview
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Written by Natalie Barresi

Branded Content Creator

9 tips to help you avoid being speechless in an interview

When you get an interview offer, your mind may rush with a ton of questions. How will I answer their questions? What should I say about myself? What shouldn’t I say? 

These interviews can be nerve-wracking for anyone, but as long as you know what to expect and are prepared, it won’t be anything but a positive experience.

If a job interview makes you feel nervous and speechless, don’t worry! With a few simple tips, you can ace any job interview — and get the gig.

1. Know the company and your interviewer(s)

It’s often overlooked, but your interview is not just about you — it’s also about the company. You’ll want to make sure that the company is a fit for you, and vice versa. You should do some research on the company and the person who’ll be interviewing you. 

You can use this information to tailor your responses and make sure you’re presenting yourself as the perfect fit for the company. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to the interview process. 

Some people prefer the classic face-to-face interview, where you’ll meet with a hiring manager and other team members. Others might be more comfortable on the phone, or meeting with groups of people at the same time.

2. Review the job description

There’s a good chance that the job description has been written by someone who already works at the company. While it’s not set in stone, it can give you a good idea of what the hiring manager is looking for in an ideal candidate. 

Using the job description as a guide, you can ensure that you’re answering questions in a way that demonstrates exactly why you’re the right fit for the position.

3. Know your resume and use it as a guide

You may have written your CV dozens of times, but when you’re in an interview, you might not remember everything that’s on your resume. That’s why it’s important to have your resume nearby. 

Here are some tips to make your interview go smoothly: 

    • Highlight your most recent and relevant work experience and education. 
    • If you’re re-entering the workforce after a long absence, highlight what you’ve been doing in your life that’s relevant and important to the job. 
    • Have your references and their contact information handy.

4. Don’t Be scared of silence

When you feel like the conversation has come to an end and you’re waiting for your interviewer to ask you another question, silence is scary. However, it’s important not to panic and fill the silence with useless chatter. 

If, in the middle of an interview, you feel like you’ve exhausted your talking points, ask your interviewer if they have any other questions they’d like you to answer. 

If the silence is between questions, consider taking a sip of water, taking a deep breath, or looking through your notes. 

If you’re really at a loss for words, you can always smile or nod in acknowledgement and be silent until your interviewer speaks again.

5. Ask for clarification

While you should avoid interrupting your interviewer, you can always ask for clarification if you’re unsure about what they’re asking. Your interviewer may not be aware that you’re unsure of a question, or they may have phrased the question in a way that wasn’t clear. 

If you’re confused, simply pause, and say something like, “I’m not sure if I understand what you’re asking.” You can then ask for clarification as to what the interviewer is looking for, and then answer the question properly. 

Make sure you take your time to answer the question as best you can rather than rush and give a weak answer.

6. Come prepared with questions

Interviewers often expect you to ask them questions about the company, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few prepared questions ready to go. 

Your questions may demonstrate your knowledge of the company and job, and they may also show your interest in the position. You can ask about the company’s culture, the management style, the department you’d be working in, or the training and mentorship opportunities available. 

You can also ask about the company’s goals, what the company is doing to reach those goals, and how you can help. This shows your interest in the company and enthusiasm for the job.

7. Identify your weaknesses

There’s a good chance that you’ll be asked about your weaknesses during the interview process. While you don’t want to lie, you also don’t want to come off as unqualified. 

Be honest: you can acknowledge that you’re not perfect and that you’re trying to improve in those areas. You can also talk about how you’ve used your weaknesses to your advantage in the past. 

If the weakness relates to the job, you can say that you’re working on improving it and that you’re committed to doing so while on the job.

8. Come up with answers for common questions

There are some questions that are asked in most interviews, or have variations that are asked in every interview, like:

These questions may seem scary, but they’re actually quite simple if you prepare in advance and keep the following ideas in mind: you’re interviewing the company just as much as they’re interviewing you, so be prepared to ask them questions, too.

Keep your answers short and to the point. Remember that you’re talking to a person, not an HR drone. Show that you’ve done your research about the company and the job, and be genuine. Be proud of your accomplishments and show that you’re a hard worker.

9. Lock in your selling points

When you’re applying for jobs, it’s easy to get caught up in the details and forget about the big picture. What are you trying to achieve? Where do you want to be in five years? What can you do for the company? 

When you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to lock in your selling point. It’s important to show your confidence and personality. This will help you stand out and give the recruiter an idea of if you’ll fit in or not.

While every job interview is different, they generally follow the same general flow: introductions, some basic small talk, a dive into your resume, some questions about your experience, and then a wrap-up. 

It’s important to remember that you’re not just there to answer questions — it’s also your chance to sell yourself to the company. And when it comes to the big interview, you’ll want to make sure that you’re prepared for whatever might come your way.


💡A potential employer wants to know what you can bring value to their company. So what’s the best way to share your accomplishments? Read more here →

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