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How to Answer an Unanswerable Question

How to Answer an Unanswerable Question
You can still give an honest response.


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Acknowledging Your Anxiety

Acknowledging Your Anxiety

When dealing with difficult conversations, if you are already anxious, any further expectations from others will intensify whatever you are feeling.

You need to address your own emotions by sharing them with your close friends and loved ones, so that you don’t get triggered while playing your role of a leader or parent, where you can transmit your negative feelings and pent-up emotions to those who look up to you.


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Listen to the Unsaid

Sometimes, people are not able to articulate well their needs. Other times, the different questions being asked by our subordinates point to a single underlying problem.

Rather than getting triggered by the repeated questions that sound similar, or deflecting them, a better approach is to acknowledge the underlying problem, and provide an honest and clear answer, while providing a genuine reassurance.


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Do not Critique The Questions

Being angry or judgemental towards a question is a sign of instability and weakness. Being defensive when you are an authority figure makes you dismiss other people's feelings and shut down their trust and engagement towards you.

Be honest, compassionate and acknowledge what you don’t know.


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Practice Your Tone and Delivery

When you are in the limelight, you are the message. Your words form a fraction of the entire message of yours, which includes your voice tone and pace, body language, and your expressions.

It’s a good idea to convey confidence and conviction if you are sure about the issue.


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Recover Fast

If you make a mistake, apologize promptly, and set towards a correction path, taking valuable feedback on the fly, and improvising without wasting precious time.

It will make you more human and likeable, and works even if your answers are not precise.


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Help Others Find Strength

One of the most empowering things leaders can do in the face of unanswerable questions is to use broader questions to draw out people's deeper concerns.

In doing so, you may end up helping others discover their own strength, which works far better than offering the answer you think they want.


1.75k READS


Quirky Interview Questions

Quirky Interview Questions

Most of us prepare in advance for the usual questions at an interview, which may not be very creative (“Name three of your biggest weaknesses?”). Some crazy questions can take us by surprise, like:...

Quirky Interview Questions: Expect The Unexpected

Recruiters and hiring managers are going increasingly offbeat and testing the agility of the employees due to the unusual demands of the modern corporate office.

If oddball questions are thrown at you, which they will be, you need to respond with ease, not getting fluxed or stunned. Take it as a game and use your presence of mind.

Quirky Interview Questions: Composure

One should not comment on the wackiness of the unexpected interview question. Stay relaxed and don’t show a nervous body language. Keeping your cool is part of the answer.

You can take a deep breath and pause, collecting your thoughts. Be comfortable with this game and do not ask for feedback, as it can give away your composure.

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Where you see yourself in 5 years

Where you see yourself in 5 years

A regular job-interviewing question is where you see yourself in 5 years.

The purpose of this question is to see if you would like to stay at the company for many years. Bringing on new emp...

Too Much Focus on the Future

The "Where do you see yourself in 5 years" question is about the interviewer wanting to see if you can draw a straight line from the future back to the present. A two-part answer works well.

  • " I want this particular job..." reinforces your desire for the position.
  • In part two, explain your future plans "... because it will help ..."

What Career Path the Company Offers

You should answer the question honestly, but your answer should also reflect the research you put into the company.

Find out what training programs are offered through the firm while holding down your full-time job. Mention your goal to grow your skills, and you'll impress your interviewer with your future-focused desires.

Clarify the question

Make sure you're not assuming what you're being asked and take the  time to really understand the question.

Insert parts of the question in your answers, but never repeat the negative la...

Take thinking time

When you're faced with difficult questions, make sure you buy yourself enough time to determine how you want to respond.

Repeating of rephrasing the question could give you some extra time for thinking about how you want to answer.

Answer part of the question

Find a part of the question you are comfortable answering if answering the whole question is not an option.

This may sometimes be enough to satisfy the other person.