We have all been there and done that! Attending an interview, we are answering questions left, right and center when suddenly, a question throws us off guard. Our mind goes blank and we literally lose our entire train of thought. And as our interviews wait for an answer, we find ourselves fumbling for one and botching up the rest of the interview afterwards.
The right mindset for an interview
If you have experienced this, don’t worry. You are not alone. There are plenty of individuals out there who blank out during interviews and feel quite embarrassed about it as well. However, rather than feeling embarrassed about it, all you need to do is learn how to handle the situation and ensure that it doesn’t spoil the mood of the interview. In other words, you need to develop the right mindset that will help you overcome this blankness and move on with the rest of the interview with ease. Here are some tips that can help you with that.
Tip 1: Remain Calm
You may tend to panic once you blank out. The trick here is to remain calm and compose your mind. One way to do this is to make a joke about the situation you are in (this entirely depends on your interviewer’s mood though) or casually remark about how the question caught you by surprise. Do not lose your cool at any point until you feel better enough to answer the question.
Tip 2: Clear your Mind
The moment you fail to answer a question, your mind will start crowding with other questions and thoughts? What if I can never answer this question? What if the rest of your questions are like this as well? All these thoughts will only confuse you more and extend the blankness. So clear your mind first, remove all negative or uncertain thoughts and focus only the question at hand. You will be surprised at how the answer pops out of your mouth almost immediately.
Tip 3: Clarify the Question
Another way to take time to answer a question you are unsure of is to take note of it on a paper. Or clarify the question with your interviewer. While doing so, your mind will be silently working in the background, processing the answer to the question. Chances are you already knew the answer as well, but simply got confused by the question. Clarifying the question will thus, give you an easier way to find the right answer.
Tip 4: Ask to answer later
This tactic may or may not work, and depends on your interviewer’s mood. If you can’t remember the answer to a question, politely ask if you can answer it at a later point of time. Chances are your interviewer will consider this a valid request and push off the question to the end of the interview, thus giving you more time to prepare an answer for it.
Tip 5: Do some prep work
It doesn’t hurt to attend an interview well prepared. Sure you are not a computer and can make mistakes. But make sure that you do the prep work to answer at least 90% of the questions put forward by the interviewer. This will definitely impress the interviewer who will know that you have done at least a bit of ground work before attending the interview.
Blanking out is quite common in an interview. However, instead of feeling embarrassed by it, you need to learn to overcome it. This can be done by following these tips to come to the right mindset to overcome blankness and ace your interview.