How do you say I don't know in an interview?

How do you say I don't know in an interview? In an interview, you can say "I'm not sure" or "I'm unaware of that" if you don't know the answer to a question.

How do you say I don't know in an interview?

Interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences, especially when you are faced with questions you don't know the answer to. It is important to remember that honesty and transparency are key qualities that interviewers look for in candidates. While saying "I don't know" may not seem ideal, it is far better to admit it than provide false information or make something up. Here are a few strategies to help you effectively handle this situation:

1. Stay calm and composed

It is normal to feel a bit uneasy when confronted with a question you don't know the answer to. However, it is crucial to maintain your composure and not let your nerves get the best of you. Take a deep breath, remain focused, and remember that it is okay to admit when you don't have the information at hand.

2. Empathize and clarify

If you are uncertain about a question, you can ask for clarification or further information. This shows the interviewer that you are paying attention and willing to understand the question better. You can say something like, "Could you please repeat the question?" or "Can you provide more context on what you are looking for?" This can buy you some time to think and assess whether you have any relevant knowledge or experience to contribute.

3. Be honest and genuine

When you genuinely don't know the answer, it is best to be truthful about it. Honesty is highly valued in interviews, and attempting to bluff your way through will likely be noticed. Be upfront and admit that you do not have the information or experience in that particular area. However, expressing your willingness to learn or research to gain knowledge can demonstrate your enthusiasm and dedication.

4. Offer alternative solutions

If you don't have the exact answer but have some ideas or related knowledge, you can still contribute to the conversation. Explain what you do know and how it might be applicable or suggest possible approaches to finding the answer. This demonstrates your critical thinking skills and ability to problem-solve even when faced with uncertainty.

5. Use it as an opportunity

Turning an "I don't know" moment into a positive experience can be beneficial. You can emphasize your eagerness to learn and grow by mentioning similar situations in the past where you successfully tackled unknown challenges or how you intend to acquire the missing information. This showcases your adaptability and a growth mindset.

6. Follow up

After the interview, if you have managed to find the answer to a question you previously didn't know, you can mention it in your follow-up email or thank-you letter. This shows your dedication and commitment to continuously improving your knowledge and skills.


While it may feel uncomfortable to say "I don't know" during an interview, it is an opportunity to demonstrate your honesty, problem-solving abilities, and willingness to learn. Remember, admitting when you don't know something is far better than providing incorrect information. Approach the situation with confidence and use it as a chance to showcase your positive qualities as a candidate.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you handle situations where you don't know the answer to a question during an interview?

In such situations, it is important to be honest and transparent. Instead of guessing or trying to provide an incorrect answer, it is better to admit that you do not know the answer. Honesty and integrity are important qualities, and interviewers appreciate candidates who are truthful.

2. What can you do to handle a question you don't know the answer to in an interview?

If you encounter a question you don't know the answer to, you can politely ask the interviewer for clarification or additional information to gain a better understanding of the question. This shows that you are actively engaged in the conversation and willing to learn more before providing a response.

3. Is it acceptable to say "I don't know" during an interview?

Absolutely. It is better to admit when you do not have sufficient knowledge or experience instead of providing incorrect information. Employers appreciate honesty and value candidates who are self-aware and willing to learn. Saying "I don't know" when appropriate demonstrates integrity and a willingness to grow professionally.

4. How can you turn saying "I don't know" into a positive moment during an interview?

You can use the opportunity of not knowing the answer to showcase your problem-solving skills and eagerness to learn. Instead of leaving the answer at "I don't know," you can add, "I am not familiar with that topic, but I am eager to learn more about it. If given the opportunity, I will dedicate the time and effort to research and understand it thoroughly."

5. Can saying "I don't know" negatively impact your chances at getting the job?

No, saying "I don't know" in response to a question you genuinely do not have an answer to will not necessarily have a negative impact on your chances of getting the job. Honesty and integrity are highly valued traits in candidates, and admitting that you do not know something can show your willingness to learn and grow. However, it is always important to strike a balance and avoid using "I don't know" too frequently during the interview.

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