Student's Visa Interview:What to do if you do not understand Interview Question?
A common mistake I see in interviews, is people not answering the question that they are asked.
An interview can be stressful for candidates and it is difficult to retain the high level of concentration required throughout in order to answer questions asked properly.
What most candidates do not appreciate, is that they can always ask the interviewer to repeat or clarify a question they have been asked.
It is more beneficial to do this, than to guess what you were asked and risk providing a weak and/or irrelevant response.
Not all interviewers are adequately trained at conducting interviews, which is another factor to consider. They can ask long winded, unclear and complicated questions which place an additional burden on the interviewer to decipher what they are being asked.
If you politely call the interviewer on this, then they can often correct their wrongs and make it easier on you.
An untrained interviewer is more likely to be concentrating on what they are going to say next over listening to what you are saying, so this can balance the stakes somewhat too.
So how do you ask an interviewer to repeat a question politely?
The key is tone and delivery. Some examples of positive approaches are:
• Am I correct in saying you are asking me X?
• Just so I am clear, you would like to know X?
• Would you mind repeating the question so I’m clear on what you’re asking?
• I didn’t fully understand the question, would you mind repeating it for me?
Some candidates have difficulties understanding strong accents, especially if the interview is in another language to their mother tongue.
If at the start it is very evident that you cannot understand what they are saying, you will need to express that to them from the outset. For example– apologies, I am unfamiliar with your accent and finding it difficult to understand at times. Would you mind repeating that please? This should give them enough of a hint to slow down and speak more clearly.
If it is a role in which you will be required to deal with the general public and a variety of accents, I would add a line to show the interviewer that you have an ability to get used to a variety of accents but are still getting used to some.
As with all interviews, the more you prepare, the less taxing they will be on your concentration, making it easier for you to answer the questions you are asked.
Asking for clarity shows confidence and that you are focused on getting it right over guessing which is also a positive competency.
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