When you don’t know how to answer a question during an interview, the silence can seem excruciating. You might even wish the floor would open up and swallow you whole. Not to worry, though — keep these tips in mind the next time you’re strapped for an answer.

1. Calm down.

First of all, the most important thing to do is stay calm. If you start freaking out, your body will begin reacting physiologically. For example, your blood pressure will start rising, and your heart may race. Once you start a stress response, you won’t be thinking clearly, and you may throw out answers without thinking. Take deep breaths, and tell yourself that it’s OK to not know the answer to the question. You’ll just have to work through it; there’s nothing you can do to change things, but you need to stay calm to find the right answer.

2. Don’t say, “I don’t know,” off the bat. And don’t make stuff up.

You should not tell the interviewer you don’t know the answer without mulling it over. Then again, be careful not to make stuff up, because your interviewer can see right through that.

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