/ Asked by O'Brian
I sent my resume to a company and they sent me a questionnaire to fill out. It asks several questions pertaining to my knowledge of certain procedures/processes within the industry. Is it better to say "I don't know such and such..." or should I research these questions in order to avoid coming off clueless. While knowledge of those procedures is not exactly necessary I don't want to answer all 8 questions with "I don't know".
Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, August 1, 2014
It is always a good idea to do some research in advance of a potential interview.  I would recommend finding out as much as you can to answer the questions, but if you cannot, it is key to express to the potential employer that you have the desire to and are excited about learning the new process or procedure.  An example of a way to express this could be 'my knowledge in this area is limited, however, I have a strong desire to learn about ___ as I have in ___ (another area of your background).  In some cases companies are trying to gauge a candidate's ability to learn new things.
Answered by Paula, Hiring Expert at Cigna, on Friday, August 1, 2014
It's always important to research an industry, company, and position before submitting your application. When you recieve questionnaires, apply the knowledge from your research and go on to explain that your previous experience did not provide as much exposure to that procedure/process. And then continue to explain that this is one of the main reasons why you were interested in that role. This would demonstrate that intellectual curiosity and learning agility are a high priority for you.
Answered by Sharon, Hiring Expert at Mutual of Omaha, on Monday, August 4, 2014
If the questionnaire is multiple choice, it's best to use the answer options they provide, which may be "I don't know." If these questions are open ended, you need to be honest and indicate what you do and don't know. If you find yourself in a position needing to research it, you probably aren't familiar with it. It's totally find with indicating "I don't currently have experience with .... and am willing to learn."
Answered by John, Hiring Expert at DuPont, on Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Answer all the questions honestly.  If you don't know, you don't know.

One of the benefits of the questionnaire is that now you have more information regarding what type of skills the company is looking for in a candidate to fill this position.  If you honestly do not have knowledge for many of these processes, you may not be qualified for this position.  That's okay. If you really are interested in this position, now you know what skills/knowledge will help you be successful.  Search out additional positions or projects that will help you build these skills.

On the flip side, you may meet the minimum qualifications of the position, but the employer might be attempting to assess your skill level to determine what type of training will be required as part of your orientation.

The bottom line is for you to be honest.

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