It’s an all-too-familiar scenario. You finish a job interview. You believe it went well. But you don’t hear back from the company or you get a letter telling you that they have hired someone else.
What happened? Could you have seen the signs?
The truth is there are signs that you can pick up on that say that your interview isn’t going well. Unfortunately, not many people know the signs to recognize them.
Reading Body Language
So, here are some signs that the interview isn’t going well and some suggestions for how you could help your chances.
What they’re doing: Stops taking any notes, looks at their watch or clock, or picks up their questioning pace.
What they’re saying: “You are boring me.”
What you can do: At this point, it’s okay to ask a question. You can say something like, “I’d like to ask a question, if that would be okay.” When you say this, pause for a moment and change your inflection so that you have their attention. It’s also a good idea to use some hand gestures when you’re talking to add some emphasis.
What they’re doing: Folding their arms across their chest, flaring their nostrils, or shifting their feet or shoulders towards the exit.
What they’re saying: “You offended me.”
If you have unintentionally offended your interviewer, the only thing you can do is to directly address it. Ask your interviewer if you’ve said something offensive or impolite and then apologize.
What they’re doing: Momentarily smirking or raising their eyebrows.
What they’re saying: “I don’t agree with you.” or “I don’t believe what you said.”
If you get the sense that your comments are coming against resistance, it’s okay if you want to address the problem directly. You can say something like, “I have the sense that you’re not agreeing with what I said. Is there something I can clear up?”
What they’re doing: Reading through your resume during your whole interview.
What they’re saying: “I have someplace else I’d rather be.”
This is one that may not be anything to do with you. Some people just don’t like doing interviews or they make bad interviewers. That doesn’t mean you can’t save your interview. You can say something like “What information can I give you that will show you that I’m a good person for the job?”
This situation can also be avoided if you put your resume on the interviewer’s desk rather than handing it to them.
When you learn to read the body language of your interviewer, you’ll find that there are fewer surprises after a botched job interview. You’re able to fix what went wrong and possibly save the job. Make sure that you pay attention to your interviewer and see what they are doing. They may not be saying anything, but you can read a lot by the way that they are acting.
Instead of just listening to what the interviewer is saying, listen to what they aren’t saying. It can make a huge difference in them saying “You’re hired” or “Don’t call us, we’ll call you”.