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Being caught off-guard by a question

fit interview
New answer on Sep 07, 2020
5 Answers
3.1 k Views
NYM asked on Jun 05, 2019

If you're caught off-guard during a fit interview, how do you respond?

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Content Creator
replied on Jun 06, 2019
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching


I would proceed as follows:

  1. Gain some seconds with an ice-breaker. Something like: “That’s an interesting question”
  2. After that, if you cannot think about a good answer, ask for time with something like the following: “There are a couple of experiences I believe would show what you asked, if it is ok for you I would like to think for a moment to select the most suitable one”. This is not ideal – in theory you should have all your fit stories already prepared – but it is better to do so that provide on the spot a bad answer

I would recommend practicing a bit in front of a mirror/with peers to be sure your body language also reflects confidence when you go through this.

Hope this helps,


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replied on Jun 06, 2019
BCG | Kellogg MBA |82% Success rate| 450+ case interview| 5+ year consulting | 30+ projects in ~10 countries

Hi there,

It is a good question! First, it is best to never have this situation by making sure that you are ready for most common questions. Please feel free to PM me, I can share 67 common questions with you for free.

If somehow this situation happens, the worst thing to do would be answering without thinking enough. If you do so, the interviewer can come up with follow-up questions and it can make things worse and worse.

For this reason, I would suggest the following 2 things. First is trying to gain some time and thinking about the question and your answer. However, this may potentially not work and you may not find a good answer. In this case, instead of giving a poor answer, I would suggest being honest and telling that you do not know or you should think more about this topic. Although it is best to give a good answer, telling that you do not know is much better than giving a poor response.


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replied on Jun 05, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


You can just avoid this situation:

  1. Be prepared with the stories they usually ask (They are well known)
  2. Have additional stories you can adjust quickly to any questions


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Anonymous replied on Sep 07, 2020

Hi A,

I would recommend you practice quick thinking so you could either adjust one of your stories, prepared in advance, to the situation or win some time by saying something like "Nice question! I do have an idea about this." and looking confident.

Anyway, this is just a matter of practice and experience.

Best, Andre

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Daniel replied on Jun 05, 2019

Really important to keep calm and look the interviewer in his/her eyes. Don't show insecurities and try to win some time by appreciating the question. Whilst winning time, you have a few seconds to think about an answer.

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Francesco gave the best answer


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