What to do when you don't know answer to question asked by interviewer?

This question was asked through comments on a post on CE's official blog, VoiCE : #-Link-Snipped-#

Okay, now let's look at this situation closely. There are following possibilities -

Situation #1: You know something, but not very confident about the answer:

This is a typical situation. The interviewer asks you a question and you aren't very sure about the answer. But of course you know 'something' very relevant. How'd you handle such a situation?

Well, the answer is simple: First decide how much you know and whether your answer will add something valuable to the conversation between you and interviewer. If you are absolutely sure that 'that something' will add value then politely accept that you don't know the answer but know something that is very relevant. You can use following words -

"Sir/Madam, I'm not familiar with < topic > but I know that it involves < your relevant answer > "


"Sir/Madam, I don't have knowledge about < ... > but what I know is < .... > "

Look, the point here is not to tell the interviewer how smart you are, but to inform him/her that you're aware of the topic and can 'add' something that drives the conversation forward.

Situation #2: You're absolutely blank. Don't have a clue about what the interviewer asked:

This situation is not abnormal. Many times, the interviewer may ask you to see how you handle difficult situation. When interviewer asks you something you've no clue about, don't be ashamed to say,

"Sir/Madam, I'm afraid, I do not know < .... > "
"Sir/Madam, I'm not familiar with < .... > "
"Sir/Madam, I'm not sure whether this is about < relevant something > "

You may ask question to the interviewer just to be sure that you've understood the question correctly. Don't be a rat and just go on babbling about every damn thing you know in the world; just to appear 'smart' and 'employable'. You'll get rejected.

Situation #3: You know the answer, but don't recall it properly:

See, your promptness in answering does not make you look smart & intelligent in any interview. Many candidates think that if they start answering as soon as the interviewer has done asking his/her question, they'll look smarter. Wrong!

It is ABSOLUTELY OKAY to take your time before you answer. But not too much time. 10 seconds is enough time to gather things in your mind before you speak out. If you need more time to collect the things, request the interviewer to grant you more time; they'll be happy to grant you time than listening to incorrect answer or your mumble.

Remember, use your mind when you handle such situation. For example, if you're a fresh graduate appearing for interview and the interviewer asks you a definition or question based on your engineering discipline; you can't say "I don't know", because you can't take chances with that.

Your questions are most welcome.


  • gaurav.bhorkar
    Thanks a lot. All doubts cleared!
  • Sahithi Pallavi
    Sahithi Pallavi
    Wonderful tip! Very useful for us.
    Waiting for more such good tips.

    P.S : Folks, Play all these tips while Biggie interviewing. You will be recruited. 😀
  • Kaustubh Katdare
    Kaustubh Katdare
    I'm desperate to interview someone who applies for job at CE and clears the first test. We haven't had anyone clear the first test yet.
  • Manish Goyal
    Manish Goyal
    very nice tips 😀
  • Deepika Bansal
    Deepika Bansal
    nice tips Mr K. Looking forward for some more............
  • Leo
    Nice tips Bigge. Thanks.
  • nabta
    thank you very usefull....
  • nabta
    i have a answer for u ,could i ?
  • Kaustubh Katdare
    Kaustubh Katdare
    i have a answer for u ,could i ?
    Go ahead.

You are reading an archived discussion.

Related Posts

Hello I'm new to Finite Element Analysis and Abaqus cae. I have created a model of a crane arm in Abaqus and I intend to use it to calculate the...
hi, As title say Add extra option in My Computer content right click menu Here screenshot download here https://www.fileserve.com/file/3xDE5ZB
hello friends. do you have to submit major or minor projects in your college & you are not prepared yet? I have something for you. contact me, I hav got...
Most of my questions are still didn't answered.Anyway this is my another query brothers I hope you will make it clear. how application software interact with system software. I have...
Hi I want to simulate a VCO in simulink, the input for which has to be from the real world. How can i interface the real world input to the...