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San Antonio, TX

Advanced knowledge of programming language(s), software development tools and environment(s) and systems analysis and functional design

5 Ways to Avoid Freezing Up in a Job Interview

August 20, 2013
5 Ways to Avoid Freezing Up in a Job Interview

Many of us may have faced the challenge of freezing up or being stumped during an interview.  Even if you’ve researched the company and have the perfect interview attire it’s natural to be nervous and ice up.


If you catch yourself freezing up in the interview, follow these tips to get back on track:

1. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question 

Asking the interviewer to clarify their question gives you a few extra moments to think through your answer, as well as get a better understanding of what they want to know about your background and experience. However, you should only ask an interviewer to repeat their question when absolutely necessary. Asking them to clarify too many times could suggest that you’re not a good listener.


2. Answer to the best of your ability

If you feel insecure with your answer, it’s okay to follow up with a question with, “did that answer your question?”. This shows that you‘re engaged and willing to clarify any questions the interviewer may still have.


3. Take notes and be prepared

Bring the company research you’ve done with you to the interview, preferably typed up and organized. It’s also a good idea to type out any interview questions you’re nervous about answering, so you can easily reference the information if you get stumped.

4. Write down trigger words

Keeping a short list of key words or phrases can refresh your memory on what you want to elaborate on regarding your background and knowledge. Using simple words like “tenacious” or “driven” can help you explain how you’ve gone the extra mile in your career. Even a phrase like, “I perform best in a fast-paced, metric driven environment” can help you translate an important fact about yourself in a previous role and the strength you brought to that project.

5. Practice

When preparing, it’s a good idea to have multiple people ask you interview questions. Practicing with different personalities and levels of authority will prepare you for almost any situation!


Remember, the most important steps to warming up for your next job interview are being prepared, calm and honest. Preparation and practice will boost your confidence and ease your nerves …and if you get stumped, remain cool, take a deep breath and ask the interviewer to kindly repeat the question.

About the author

Mackenzie HollisterMackenzi Hollister has been with Kforce since 2010, starting her career as an IT Technical Recruiter. She has supported the firm in multiple delivery capacities and most recently joined the HIM/Healthcare division as the newest Client Staffing Manager! She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Textile and Consumer Sciences; a degree in Fashion Merchandising. Connect with Mackenzi on LinkedIn

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About this blog
Knowledge Employed is a career advice blog and job tips resource center, created and managed by Kforce’s staffing specialists. Whether you are a professional needing career advice or a hiring authority seeking business guidance, our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and tools.