Signs of a Bad Interview

What are the signs of a bad interview? Recognizing that your interview has not gone well means you can do some damage control after the interview. Find out the tell-tale warnings that your interview went badly and what to do about it.

Unhappy job candidate leaving interview

10 Signs that an Interview went Badly

1. The interview did not proceed as scheduled

Signs of a bad interview include:

  • the interview is hurried and significantly shorter than the allocated time
  • you did not meet all the people you were scheduled to meet with little explanation as to why

If it appears that after the initial interview period, the interviewer is rushing and eager to bring the interview to a close this can likely be interpreted as a bad sign.

2. You were not given much information on the position or company

If the interviewer made no attempt to sell you on the job or did not share much information about the position it may be a sign that the interview went badly.

However it is important to recognize that the interviewer may be nervous or inexperienced and not particularly good at conducting the interview.  This could be a preliminary interview conducted by junior HR person who does not know much about the job.

However if the interviewer is either a hiring manager or department/team manager and they share insufficient information about the job and company, you can take it as potentially a bad sign.

3. You were not asked much about your skills and experience

If you felt that you were given little opportunity to discuss your skills and background and how they match up with the job requirements, this could be the sign of a bad interview.

If, after a couple of basic interview questions, the interviewer did not ask further questions about your experience and motivation for the job, it could indicate dissatisfaction with your initial interview answers.

4. The interviewer did not listen properly to you

The interviewer did not listen carefully or give proper thought to your answers and did not ask pertinent follow up questions. This may indicate that the interviewer is not interested in learning more about you and can be taken as signs of a bad interview.

A good interview should feel like a conversation, it is not a question and answer session where the interviewer is just firing questions at you and then moving quickly on to the next question.

If the interviewer goes on the offensive and appears to be trying to trip you up or puts you repeatedly in the hot seat, this could mean that he has concerns over your suitability and is not really giving you a fair chance to prove otherwise.

5. The interviewer kept going over the same points

If the interview spent a lot of time going over and asking questions about a specific point and did not move on easily to discuss other topics it could be a red flag.

For example, if you were asked over and over about a gap in employment, your reason for leaving a job, a certain aspect of your experience, it could be a sign that the interviewer is concerned about it.

6. You were not given an opportunity to ask questions

If the interviewer brings the interview to a close without asking if you have any questions or you were given an opportunity to ask questions but the responses were brief and vague, this could be sign that a decision has already been made about you.

The interviewer appears to just be going through the motions in asking you if you have any questions and responds with short answers that show little thought or enthusiasm. This could mean that the interview did not go well and the interviewer is eager to bring it to a close. 

7. Career prospects in the company were not discussed

One of the signs of a bad interview is when no reference is made to future prospects in the company or career paths and goals.

If the interviewer is enthusiastic about your application and meeting you, it is likely that he or she will provide some positive details about your future with the company.

8. The interviewer's body language- signs of a bad interview

A negative message from the interviewer's body language can be one of the signs of a bad interview.  Did the interviewer display enthusiasm and engagement? Or did he appear disinterested and distracted?  Over 70% of communication is non verbal, these are  the warning signs to watch out for in the interviewer:

  • clock watching
  • fiddling with papers, phone, tablet
  • fidgets with objects on the desk, jewelry or clothing
  • jiggles leg or drums fingers impatiently
  • stops taking notes
  • not making eye contact
  • looks down and repeatedly reading through your resume
  • displays low energy, slouches on the desk or slumps back in chair
  • voice delivery is monotonous and sounds disengaged
  • does not smile or facial expressions are deadpan

Avoid taking any one sign out of context, confirm your impression with a number of negative signals. 

9. There was a lack of rapport

Interviewers have different styles and approaches to the job interview. Some will be more informal than others. If you feel that you did not connect with the interviewer confirm it with other signs that there was a lack of rapport.  For example the interviewer:

  • shows a lack of enthusiasm
  • appears distracted and disinterested
  • seems to just be going through the motions
  • responds briefly and vaguely to your questions

The interviewer being reserved and serious is not in itself a bad sign. This may be their general demeanor in a professional setting or just their interview style.

10. Little information is given about the next steps in the hiring process

Signs of a bad interview can include:

  • no questions are asked about your availability or notice period
  • no details are provided about the next steps in the hiring process
  • you are asked to follow up with an assistant
List of 10 signs of a bad interview in text form

Signs of a bad Zoom interview

Certain negative signals are not easy to pick up on a Zoom interview. The interviewer's body language is more difficult to read and it is harder to establish rapport on a Zoom interview. Rather focus on the other signs of a bad interview including questions asked and answered and the quality and quantity of information you were given during the Zoom interview.

More about Zoom Interviews

Is a short interview good or bad?

A short interview is not always a bad sign. It could be that the interviewer has most of the information he needs already from your job application and just wants a brief face-to-face meeting. In this case, the allotted time for the interview will be shorter than expected for a job interview. 

However, if you feel the interview was cut short and did not continue for the fully allotted time, this is probably a warning sign.  If the interview feels rushed, comes to an abrupt close and you did not have a proper opportunity to express your suitability or ask questions, you can most likely take it as a sign of a bad interview.

Recovering from a bad interview

You have determined that your interview did not go as you hoped. Don't panic, you can recover from a bad interview. We show you the steps to take to remedy the situation.

Girl looking up at yellow frowning face turning to smiley face

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