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12 Tell-Tale Signs of a Bad Interview

Sad and stressed young woman being interviewed by two male hiring managers
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We’ve all had our fair share of bad interviews.

From stern interviewers to painfully awkward mind-blanks and jitters, it’s easy to mess up and lose your chances of landing a job.

But, sometimes, it can be hard to tell if an interview went well or if you’re just overthinking the events of the day – which is probably why you’ve winded up here!

To put you out of your misery, we’ve listed the most obvious signs of a bad interview so you can close the book on that chapter and move on to new opportunities!

 


 

1. There’s No Eye Contact

If you failed to maintain eye contact with the hiring manager, you might as well have not turned up to the interview at all. You not only come across as rude, but it also sends a message that you’re not interested and would rather be anywhere else apart from your interview.

If, on the other hand, your interviewer doesn’t make any eye contact with, it’s a clear sign that they would also rather be anywhere else but in the interview. This could be because they’ve already met their ideal candidate and are just conducting your interview out of politeness or because they just feel like you’re not the right fit for the job.

 

2. The Interview Is Cut Short

If the hiring manager happens to be rushing through their questions and ends up cutting your interview short, it may be a clear sign that they don’t want to waste their time or yours. A good interview should usually last around 30 minutes, so if you feel like you haven’t even talked about any of your previous experience, you’ve undoubtedly experienced a poorly conducted interview.

In some rare cases, a rushed interview could simply mean that the interviewer knows that you’re the one for the job within the first five minutes and doesn’t feel the need to drag it on any longer!

 

3. Your Interviewer Pulls Funny Faces

I’ve been sat in an interview before where an external HR manager rolled her eyes at one of my answers, and it’s safe to say that I didn’t get offered the job. In fact, I knew from that very moment that it wasn’t the right position for me.

If you, too, have experienced an eye-roll, a long face or an inappropriate snigger, you should probably assume that your interview didn’t go too well. But there’s no need to get disheartened – would you really want to work with a group of people that will be mocking you?! We didn’t think so, either!

 

4. Your Interviewer Seems Distracted and Disengaged

A distracted interviewer who is paying more attention to their notes or telephone than your answers is never a good sign, especially if they look bored or disinterested. This reaction could be because your answers are too long and you’re providing irrelevant information.

An excellent way to try an engage an interviewer is to ask questions of your own and share an interest in their duties and career. But if all else fails, you can just write the interview off as a bad one. You probably wouldn’t want to work for someone who’s that distracted, anyway!

 

5. There’s No Chemistry

A sign of a good interview is when you know you’ve clicked with the hiring manager and can see yourself working with them on a daily basis. You bounce off the conversation and leave with a sense of security.

However, if you leave the interview room with a gut instinct that the interview process isn’t going well, you shouldn’t ignore it!

In fact, a study published by Professor Albert Mehrabian in his 1970 book Silent Messages confirms that communication is mainly conveyed non-verbally, with only 7% being the words that are voiced. So, if you feel a disconnection, it means that this position isn’t right for you!

 

6. The Interviewer Leaves the Room

Unless the interviewer’s gone off to make copies of any work samples that you’ve brought with you, there’s really no excuse for leaving the room mid-interview! This is a clear sign that the interview went wrong and that you definitely won’t be returning to that particular office.

If, on the other hand, you’ve had a telephone interview and you’ve been put on hold without any explanation, it could also be an indication of a bad phone interview. So, you shouldn’t be banking on that as a chance to secure a new job and should continue your job search.

 

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7. You Were Thrown Off with Strange Questions

Most interviews usually follow a similar structure and pattern with the interviewer asking a number of common job interview questions. However, if random off-topic questions are thrown into the mix (like ‘do you party a lot?’ or ‘how would you handle being discriminated against in the workplace?’), it’s a clear sign that the interviewer is just asking borderline illegal questions to put you off.

If none of the questions were related to your skills and knowledge for the industry, you can write this interview down as a bad experience.

 

8. You Weren’t Given Any Information about the Role

A regular job interview will begin with the employer providing information about the role and company before diving into questions. If this doesn’t happen, however, it should send alarm bells ringing!

If throughout the whole interview the hiring manager has failed to brief you on the duties of the role, it’s safe to say that the reason is because they don’t plan on offering you the job.

 

9. You Did Not Discuss Salary Expectations

When an interview is going well, the interviewer will usually ask what your expected salary is. This is because they want to see if your expectations are in line with what they can offer and to see if you will be willing to negotiate if your hopes are too high.

If there has been no mention of salary, it’s usually because they weren’t planning on offering you a position in the first place!

 

10. You Didn’t Ask Any Questions

Failing to ask the interviewer questions of your own will show that you’re not interested in the position and have not taken advantage of the opportunity by finding out if the position is a right fit for you, too!

Even if the hiring manager covered all you wanted to know during the interview, you should have a few killer questions of your own prepared to ask at the end of your interview.

 

11. You Aren’t Advised about the Next Steps

Towards the end of an interview, you’ll usually be told about the following steps, whether it’s a second interview, a test or a day working in the office.

If you’ve not been told what to expect next, you can assume that it’s down to the fact that you won’t be involved in the next stage of the interview process. If you do want to know where you stand, you can pose the question yourself to see if you have any chance of landing the job.

 

12. You Weren’t Asked about Your Skills or Experience

To identify if you’re a right match for the position, you’ll be asked skilled-based questions like ‘tell me about an obstacle you faced’ to see how you would handle certain scenarios. If the hiring manager has failed to ask you about work-related skills and experiences, they will most likely not hire you for the job.

The whole point of an interview is to get an understanding of your work ethic and skills and to ultimately see if you will be a good culture fit.

 


 

If you’ve nodded in agreement to a few points on this list, it’s likely that your interview didn’t go well. But you shouldn’t sit and dwell on it! Bad interviews happen to teach us a lesson; they help us identify what roles we want to go for, what kind of people we want to work with and what skills we need to develop.

Have you experienced a bad interview before? Let us know in the comments section below!