Related question: In an interview when answering a question, should you say if you're not sure?

So recently in an interview, I got a question wrong. The interviewer called it out -- it was just flatly wrong.

Naturally I asked him what the actual answer was and he explained. I thanked him for the explanation but since it seems that was a core question in the interview, things just went downhill from there.

I'm wondering what is the proper or professional reaction or response when you get something wrong? Should you try to just get past it? Should you talk it through with the interviewer or is that just a waste of time?

4 Answers 4


If you get an answer wrong and you know it's wrong, accept that it's wrong and move on.

Don't start an argument if you think you're right - a good response here is "Oh really? I'll need to double-check that because I was sure it was < your answer >." and then move on.

Don't guess answers, rather you say you don't know. Guessing can be interpreted as an inability to ask for help meaning you could cost the company money if you're ever in a critical position and run into an issue you can't solve on your own.

  • 2
    this. Don't ever hope for a lucky guess.
    – Daniel
    Apr 7, 2017 at 15:19
  • If you don't know but can manage an educated guess, wouldn't it be good to admit not knowing and propose an anwser nonetheless?
    – JayZ
    May 15, 2019 at 15:00

You just soldier on, if you messed up you messed up. You did pretty much the right thing. The wrong thing is to get upset and argue a losing battle when you know you're wrong.


Something to add to all the good answers so far.

Never forget that going to an interview is also an opportunity to get to know the company and people that you will be working with.

When a wrong answer is given, what is the reaction of the interviewer?

  • Is he understandable and offers to explain in a nice manner,
  • Does he laughs out loud at the stupidy of the answer...

Whatever the response is, it will teach you something about the people you might soon be working with.

I would almost argue that whenever you are going to an interview, make sure to give at least 1 wrong answer to get to know all sides of your potential future work environment.


I think it really depends on what the question was.

Using phrases like "I'm sorry, can you repeat the question?" signal that you weren't listening to the question, instead you can repeat the question back to them with some of your interpretation to ensure you are going to answer the correct thing.

If it was a technical question like "Where would you use VBA?" and instead of saying Excel you say Access and they call you out on it, then you can just brush it off with something along the lines of "Oh I'm sorry, that isn't my forte but I thought that was the correct answer. I look forward to learning more regarding that then."

It will be very hard to turn around an interview after something like this, but at least you gained some experience you wouldn't have otherwise!

Don't try to guess your answers but if it is something you think you may now, you can always address it with "To be honest, I'm not sure, I would imagine it relates to...(insert explanation here, keep it brief)...however, can you explain it to me please?"

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