How to Recognize Signs of a Bad Interview

Signs of a Bad Interview | Examples & Tips |

You may wonder how you did after an interview as you wait for an employer to get back to you. At first, it can be unclear as to how well you did if little to no feedback is given during the interview. This article discusses signs that indicate a poor interview and tips that can help you succeed during your next interview.

Common signs that an interview didn’t go well

If you are unsure of how your recent interview went, here are some signs that may help you decide if the interview went poorly:

The interviewer seemed distracted or disinterested

It is never a good thing if your interviewer shows their distraction or disinterest. They may display this by walking around the room, texting, checking email or by staring somewhere other than in your general direction while you speak.

They hardly discuss your accomplishments, goals or achievements

Typically, employers want to know more about your goals and accomplishments especially if you fit the job they are hiring for. When hardly any discussion about these things happens, the employer may have decided they aren’t interested in you as a candidate any longer.

Eye contact is minimal

Participation in an engaging conversation or interview typically involves some eye contact, although there may be occasional glances towards interview notes for reference. Their attention may be located elsewhere such as their computer, your outfit or some other item they may find more interesting.

They frequently contradict you

Sometimes contradictions to your answers to challenge you and to see if you can keep up with the interviewer. However, if they are making you feel unintelligent and purposely antagonizing you, this is a sign that they don’t want to hire you and are probably just wasting time.

Details about the position or company are not discussed

Interested employers tell you about the position and provide an overview of their company’s vision, mission and values. If they don’t give you this information then they may not care if you are a good fit or not.

The interview is cut short

When your interview ends abruptly, it can be a sign that the interview didn’t go well and that they aren’t going to hire you. The interview may end because of an emergency, but if this is the case the interviewer should let you know. A short interview is typically considered anything less than 30 minutes.

It seems like your answers aren’t being carefully considered

If the interviewer is interested in your answers, they typically consider your answers thoughtfully. They may even ask follow up questions to your answers in order to further clarify what you mean or to discuss the answer in further detail. If they make you repeat yourself or they simply move on to the next question without commentary, they may not be interested in you for the position.

They bring up other candidates and their qualifications

The interviewer should not bring up other candidates if they are only interested in hiring you. They may be hinting towards your lack of experience or qualification for the job if they mention other qualified candidates.

There was no effort made to sell you on the company

The purpose of an interview is not only for you to sell yourself but for the company to sell themselves to you. Interviewers that are interested in you typically discuss all the company has to offer and they make the benefits and company culture seem appealing to you so you want to work for them.

They didn’t smile

An interviewer may smile or get excited about some of your answers if they feel a connection with you or believe that you are a good candidate for the job. They may lack excitement and enthusiasm if they don’t like you or what you have to offer.

You felt little to no connection with the interviewer

One of your goals, when you interview, should be to build rapport with the hiring manager and to familiarize yourself with them to make a connection. If there is no connection or you struggle to find a connection with them, then the interview may have gone poorly and they may choose to select another candidate.

They made you aware of their concerns

Sometimes interviewers may voice their concerns about how you may fit within a position or the company. For example, they may say, ‘Your educational background is impressive, but I’m concerned about your lack of on-the-job experience. This position requires someone with the ability to do the work quickly and efficiently.’ You may always convince them of your abilities, but they may have already decided that you are not the right candidate to choose for the position.

They interrupt your answers

Interviewers that interrupt you while you are speaking are a bad sign. This may mean that your answers are too lengthy, they aren’t interested in what you are saying or that you aren’t communicating clearly.

You’re not asked to provide your availability

An interviewer that wants to hire you may ask you what your availability is to see if it works for the open position. If they don’t ask you about your availability it could indicate that they don’t want to hire you since most employers want to know this information before the second interview to make sure there are no scheduling conflicts.

They don’t introduce you to other staff

Hiring managers that are excited to offer you a position may introduce you to the office staff members that are working close to your interview location. They do this to gauge what the other employees feel or think about you to begin the decision-making process to determine if you are the right candidate to hire. If you don’t get introduced to any of the office staff, then it might mean that your interview went badly.

Tips to improve your next interview

It is likely that you may have more opportunities to interview for other companies. Here are some tips that can help you improve your next interview:

  • Prepare ahead of time. The best way to cultivate interviewing confidence is by being prepared. Try looking up possible interview questions and practice your answers with a friend or family member.
  • Plan your interview outfit well. Try looking up appropriate interview attire for the job you are interested in. There may be some useful tips and guidelines about how you can present yourself in the best way possible.
  • Show up a few minutes early. Some interviewers may not give you a chance if you are not on time or a few minutes early. It is always best to be early to show that you are prompt and that you truly appreciate the job opportunity.
  • Focus on listening. Apply active listening by using verbal and non-verbal cues to show that you understand the questions and any other information the interviewer provides you. This may show your interviewer how attentive you are and that you are a good communicator.
  • Make eye contact. Making eye contact while you discuss your qualifications and answer questions can show your sincerity. Sometimes indirect eye contact can mean that what you’re saying is inaccurate or untrue.
  • Research the company. Conduct thorough research about the company and look into its mission, vision and values before your interview. Interviewers often ask what you know about the company and it may impress them if you discuss the information you know about the company including their achievements and any philanthropy.

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