In an interview for BA I was asked an interview question that if you're with client and client says something about which you do not know what should you do? E.g. client says ".....Butterfly options valuation...."

Should I stop the client and ask what are butterfly options and ask them to explain it in a polite manner?

Because that's what I answered but they did not seem happy with the response and I was not selected.

  • If you really feel like you should ask and this is not what a BA is supposed to do, then this is not your job ;-) Business world is full of people talking past each other full of conviction so don't join them.
    – puck
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 11:52
  • It's impossible for us to know why you weren't selected. It's impossible for you (and us) to know that the answer to that question is why you weren't selected. From experience, not every interviewer likes every answer the same amount. Some prefer asking for clarification, where other companies fixate more on not showing weakness/ignorance.
    – Flater
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


Personally, I've made a career out of accepting responsibility when I get something wrong, and asking questions right away if I don't know something.

There are some verbal cues that you can use to minimize disruption, like "Pardon me, could you back up a moment?" or "Just a moment, I want to make sure I'm clear on this..." If you just misheard something this gives the client a chance to clear that up. If they repeat and it still doesn't make sense, move into something more declarative like "I'm not sure I've heard of that. Could you sketch it out for me?"

DO NOT be apologetic. It's not a crime to not know something. Welcome the opportunity to learn and thank them for the explanation.

It is much better to be able to admit to a gap in your knowledge than to pretend to know key points that you clearly don't.

  • 2
    +1 for the "DO NOT be apologetic". There was this whole article wrote by a former PepsiCo executive in Brazil about how "I don't know" is difficult to say and how much it saves time and effort from everybody and you should never apologize for now knowing something. Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 8:55

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