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What to say when you don't know the answer.


  1. I'm sorry, but I haven't come across that particular term before. Would you mind clarifying it for me?
  2. I'm sorry, but that isn't an area I am familiar with at present, so I can't really give you any details on that.
  3. I'm sorry I am not quite sure what you are asking. Could you ask me that question again please?
  4. I'm afraid that isn't a situation I have ever had to deal with, but I believe I would deal with it in the following way (…).


There are some sentences you may find useful preparing for an interview.


  • I have always wanted to work in …. department. When I saw your advertisement I knew it was an opportunity not to be missed.

  • I like my current company and I respect the way they work, but I am certainly ready and qualified to take on a job as …. I'm sure I could bring a great deal of experience to your company.

  • I really liked my job, but – as with any jobs – there were difficult situations like e.g. the computers crashed, poor communications between departments.

  • My work has been varied and now I manage a department of more than 50 staff. My experience has helped me become very resilient, very thorough and good at interpreting complex information. I am sure I could use these skills very effectively for you.

  • My manager would say that I was a very hard-working and enthusiastic member of the department. He would mention in particular that I keep calm when there is a lot of pressure and I don't let attention to detail slip when we are close to a deadline.

  • I have a great relationship with my staff/colleagues.

  • I always try to listen to people's ideas and suggestions.

  • I think I sometimes get involved in too many projects/tasks at one – that I can get a little bit carried away with enthusiasm and I have to discipline myself to curb that and be even more willing to delegate some projects to others.

  • I am happy to get involved in a range of projects and I know I can complete them effectively. I start by putting the date in my diary and then working backwards from there to identify all the steps.

  • Sometimes I find it difficult to find the time to keep up with routine emails.

  • I enjoy a certain amount of pressure. It makes me alert and very motivated. But on the other side I try to avoid pressure becoming too great by planning my workload well ahead.

  • The department I have worked for has been busy and I have managed a heavy case-load. It is stressful when you are dealing with several difficult cases at once, but I find the most useful way of coping is to talk to colleagues and managers to gain some support. I also go to swim very often and it really helps me to switch off and be more effective the next morning.

  • When I have problems, tasks/projects go wrong, I analyse what went wrong. I also include colleagues in the discussion, so that we can pinpoint how we might avoid the same thing happening again.

  • I try to build relationship with new work colleagues. It's important to listen and pay attention to what they say and what their concerns are. It's good to make some contributions and suggestions.

  • My interpersonal skills are very good. I always enjoyed discussions and I have become a good negotiator.


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