There’s only so much you can do to prepare yourself for a job interview. If you’re not sure where to start, here are the basics:
- Bring a copy of your resume and have your references ready
- Get up to date with current news about the company
- Get clear with your own reasons for wanting to work with the company
- Understand the position description. If you’re unclear of any aspects, jot them down and ask
Even with the most meticulous preparation, sometimes questions can catch you off-guard. And there’s nothing worse than feeling your nerve get the best of you when there’s nothing but silence between you and your interviewer.
Here are our top tips for getting through those tough interview questions, so you can work through getting stumped in the interview and come out looking good.
Take your time
You’re allowed to have a minute to think about your answer. The most important thing you can do while you’re figuring out how to answer the question is to remain calm.
If you start to freak out, your body will respond to that stress. Corporate casual and sweaty—it’s not a good look.
Plus, it will make you think less clearly, and your answers might not come out how you had wanted them to, so take your time.
Maybe it’s how the question was asked that stumped you. Ask the interviewer to clarify the question. The interviewer might give you some insight on how to answer the question, and it can help buy you some time to think about your answer.
Think out loud
There isn’t a right way to answer the tricky interview questions. Hiring managers aren’t looking for the candidate who can answer the question the fastest.
The questions are tricky so that they can get a better sense of how you think through problems and deal with stressful situations.
Tell your interviewer what you do know. Talking out loud might help you organise the thoughts bouncing around in your head.
Talk about what you do know
If you don’t know what the answer is to the question, relate it to skills and situations that you are familiar with.
If you’re able to connect your skills to the problem, you’re much better off than saying “ I don’t know” or worse, making something up.
You can even provide the interviewer with the steps you would take to figure out the problem.
Send a follow-up email
The follow-up email can be your second chance. You can bring up the question that stumped you during the interview. Now that you’ve had the chance to think about it, you can come across a lot more eloquent.
Let them know that after some thought, you’ve come up with some solutions to the problem.
Try not to fret too much about the interview. If you’re meeting with a recruiter, let them know some of the anxieties you have about the interview and get some advice.
At the end of the day, all you can do is learn from your interview experiences. No matter what question gets thrown your way, consider what the hiring manager is really trying to learn about you.
You might not be able to answer the question on the spot, but you want to demonstrate your ability to problem solve and think creatively.
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