There are very few situations that are more awkward and anxiety-inducing than sitting through a job interview that has gone pear-shaped.
Unfortunately, however, most of us will experience this at one time or another throughout our careers. Sometimes, these negative experiences could be our own doing: we simply may have turned up to the interview painfully unprepared. I’m sure you can all recall the exact question that baffled you the most of the topic about which you knew nothing. Bad interviews are pretty much a tradition for anyone who has been in the workforce long enough. Having said that, a lot of candidates often blame themselves for bad interviews when they shouldn’t. As someone who has sat through their fair share of interviews, I can assure you that a relative amount of bad interviews are down to poor interviewers; however, this does not excuse job hopefuls to do their homework and come prepared for them.
Here are some signs to look out for when you suspect you interview is going slightly askew…
1. Duration of the interview
If your interview’s duration is fairly short then this is an ideal sign of a bad interview. A good interview lasts for a longer time period, at least half an hour. This can be because there are lots of questions to ask, vital points to discuss and job responsibilities to explain. So, if you haven’t discussed enough topics and you’re asked to leave the interview room in very little time, then there are more chances of your rejection.
2. The body language of the interviewer
The body language of the interviewer is a very strong indication of whether he/she likes you or not. If the interviewer is leaning towards you or nodding their head to the answers you give, then this is a positive sign for the interview. But if the situation is reversed and the interviewer’s body language is the complete opposite then it clearly shows that they’re not keen or they find you unsuitable for the job post.
3. The interviewer seemed distracted or disinterested
An interviewer who is genuinely interested in hiring you will focus on every aspect of yours. They will focus on your skills, gestures, answers and will make sure to have an uninterrupted conversation with you about the company and your job profile responsibilities. However, if the interviewer is frequently moving in and out of the room, attending even the unimportant phone calls, and keeps asking you to repeat your answers again and again, then surely they are not interested in hiring you. A distracted interviewer is again a sign for a bad interview.
4. None or very little eye contact
Good eye contact is essential in order to have a clear and firm discussions during an interview. This also shows that the person conversing with you is listening to all of your responses, is interested in answering your questions and understands all that you want to highlight for the concerned job profile. An interrupted, improper or rare eye contact normally means that the person interviewing you isn’t getting any satisfaction from the things you’re saying.
5. Interviewer takes a lot of time to ask the next question
If the interviewer isn’t engaging in your conversation, then surely they must be thinking of something else. In this situation, they may either not properly be following your answers or they may take a lot of time to think of the next question to ask. If they really want to hire you, then they must have prepared a set of questions to be asked at the time of the interview. At this point, the interviewer is clearly not sticking to their path anymore, so chances are that they just want to wind up the interview and say goodbye.
6. Your answers are always being contradicted by the interviewer
Contradiction for every other answer given by you implies that the interviewer either thinks that you’re dumb, or they are just trying to bully you but in a positive sense. If they’re happy with your answer then they will appreciate you rather than contradicting. A frequent contradiction to your responses can also be accepted as another sign of a bad interview.
7. The interviewer doesn’t speak about your future prospects with the company
An interested interviewer will always like to know how you can benefit the company and also how the company can benefit you. They will not only discuss the present situation but also what the company wants from you in coming future years. They will also inform you of the benefits that you can avail if you progressively work for the organisation. If the interviewer doesn’t talk about such thing but continues to interrogate your skills and efficiencies, this is another sign of a bad interview.
8. Not asking your availability
If the interviewer wants to hire you, then they will likely ask you your availability, implying when you can start the job. If the interview hasn’t gone so well and they don’t want to hire you then there’s no need to ask such questions, since it would be a waste of time for the both of you.
9. Interviewer doesn’t ask about your skills or potentials
This one is an extremely important aspect of every job interview. When you go for an interview, surely the interviewer will be interested in knowing your working skills and potentials. They may want to know whether you can handle stress easily, whether you’re flexible with hours, whether you’re available to work Sundays if required, and things like that. If the interviewer doesn’t want to know any of those and isn’t even interested in knowing your work-related strengths and weaknesses, then surely they are not interested in hiring you.
10. Bad closure
We tend to obsess over the last few minutes of an interview much more than the prior hour(s) of conversation. How many times have you felt extremely confident throughout the interview, only to feel very let down by a cold dismissal at the end? A skilled interviewer will make all of the candidates feel comfortable and positive throughout the entire process. Although sometimes you might not be the right person for the position and the interview will come to an abrupt end. If you feel like you’re being ushered out of the door, then you should take this as a sign that it’s simply not a good fit and make a professional exit.
If this ever happens to you, don’t feel discouraged. Bad interviews and bad interviewers are more common than you may think. Just be sure to always turn up well-prepared and ready to do your best.
All of the signs I’ve mentioned can help you to determine how well you did in your interview. If all signs point to a bad interview, don’t despair. Bad interviews don’t necessarily say you’re a bad candidate – just a bad fit for that position with that particular company.
Remember that interviews are designed to help both the company and you determine if the job is a good fit for both parties. If your interview avoids all of these pitfalls but you don’t receive an offer, brush yourself off. Be thankful for the opportunity and keep searching until you find the perfect job.