When You Get Stumped in an Interview

So you’re in your interview. All seems to be going really well. You’ve nodded and smiled at all the appropriate times. You’ve eloquently described what you’d bring to the company. Then, you’re suddenly caught off guard. Perhaps a curve-ball interview question stumped you or maybe you just blanked on a question about your experience. Feeling shaken is normal but trust us, don’t panic. Here are a few ways to handle getting stuck.


Deep breaths

While you shouldn’t necessarily focus all your attention to your favorite deep breathing exercises, it’s important to maintain that airflow. We all lose our traction from time to time, even when we really wish we didn’t. A nice deep breath will allow you to slow your heart rate for a second, giving you clarity to carry on your interview. Deep breathing is also good to practice before and after your interviews to potentially curb the nerves.


Repeat /rephrase the question

For lack of rational reason, sometimes we just freeze in an interview. This can be due to nerves, which are often uncontrollable. Luckily, repeating the question isn’t a deal breaker – so long as you give a good moment of thought to what was asked. If applicable, ask your interviewer to rephrase or re-frame their inquiry. Sometimes a different context or simple sentence restructure will get your brain grinding its gears again.


Talk to a recruiter for feedback

Nobody is perfect – stellar interviewees included. If you believe you could’ve done a better job or the stuck moment could’ve been avoided, talk to your recruiter. Your recruiter is in a great position because he or she will have the opportunity to speak with your interviewer. Recruiters will equip you with the best interview tips and tricks.


Moreover, make sure you’re absolutely prepared before walking into any interview. You can’t always prevent a sudden brain freeze, but you can do everything in your power to know your facts. Likewise, it’s important to keep in mind that if you’re qualified in all the right areas, one little blip won’t necessarily doom your chances of landing the job. Let us know how you’ve gotten through a tricky moment in an interview!

Leave a Reply