8 Signs an Interview Went Badly and What To Do About It

Updated 30 May 2023

The end of a job interview may leave you with mixed feelings about whether you performed well. When trying to find out how an interview went, there are some key signals you can pay attention to. This includes an interviewer's body language and the type of questions they did or didn't ask. In this article, we explore signs an interview went badly, things that signify that it went well and give additional tips on how to prepare for your next job interview.

Related: 15 Signs a Job Interview Went Well

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Signs an interview went badly

There are many signs an interview went badly. If an interviewer seemed unengaged when interviewing you, it could be due to reasons that are out of your control, such as a stressful day at work or personal issues. Trying to identify if your interview went poorly may help you move on and start preparing for your next opportunity. Here are some signs you can look out for that signify that the interview might not have gone well:

1. The interview was shorter than expected

A standard in-person job interview typically lasts around 30 minutes to an hour. If your interview ended earlier than scheduled, it may signify that the recruiter made an early decision to move on to the next candidate. If the interviewer seemed rushed, apologised for cutting the interview short and proposed to reschedule, they're probably still interested in getting to know you better. For example, this can happen if they have an urgent business matter to take care of.

2. Interviewers didn't discuss your future with the company

Asking questions about your career goals and discussing advancement opportunities within the company is standard practice for interviewing candidates the employer is interested in hiring. If this didn't happen in your interview, they may be unsure about your background and if you can handle the workload. To clarify the situation, you can try asking about growth opportunities and if there's anything you could improve that, in the employer's eyes, would make you better qualified for the role. This shows motivation and your commitment to self-improvement.

3. The interviewer didn't have engaging body language

In some situations, body language can tell you a lot about what an interviewer thinks about your performance during the interview. If you want to know their opinion on your skills and experience, consider paying attention to their facial expressions and how they're sitting. Crossing arms or not maintaining eye contact while asking you questions may signify that they're interested in another applicant. If they're smiling, paying attention and asking follow-up questions, they probably think you're a qualified candidate who they'd love to see in the second round of interviews.

4. You felt rushed

If a hiring manager likes you and thinks you're the right fit for the role, they'd typically take their time during the interview to discuss important matters with you. This could be your experience, background or the duties and responsibilities of the position you're applying for. Some may even discuss your hobbies and things you've got in common.

You may also find yourself in a situation where an interviewer tries to rush you through to the end of the conversation. This could mean they're late for another meeting. Either way, thank them for the opportunity and express your excitement about potentially making it to the next round.

5. The interviewer seemed distracted

A distracted interviewer may keep checking their phone or the clock and seem like they're awaiting something. Try to stay relaxed and confident in a situation like this. Their behaviour may signify that it's a stressful day at work for them or that they're running late for another meeting. Interviewers typically schedule multiple meetings with candidates per day and interview for various roles at the company at once, which can lead to them feeling stressed.

6. The HR manager didn't ask you follow-up questions

In many cases, interviewers want to ask you additional questions after you provide answers to learn more about you. This helps them better understand not only your skills but also your thinking pattern and what motivates you to pursue this career. If they move from one thing to another without asking follow-up questions, this could signify that they're in a rush. When this happens, consider going more in depth to explain your skills and previous job duties to them.

Related: 7 Personal Attributes To Mention in Your Interview

7. You received little to no questions about your skills

If an interviewer seems engaged and shows interest in your background and experience, they're also potentially interested in seeing how you could help the company grow. They may express this by asking you more in-depth questions that show how you work and think. If they seem uninterested in how your skills can translate to the company's success, they may have another candidate in mind already. Consider regaining their interest by mentioning your accomplishments or duties that are closely related to the position which you've successfully completed in the past.

8. They didn't ask about your availability

Interviewers who are interested in hiring you may want to know when you can transition to the new company and start working. They ask about this to be sure they can plan your onboarding accordingly and give you enough time to give your previous employer your two weeks' notice. If they don't mention this, consider providing information about your availability and when you can start. Chances are that they simply forgot to ask you about this.

Signs an interview went well

To help you better understand how your interview went, consider reviewing common bad and good signs to look out for in an interview. Here's a list of signs that could signify that your interview went well:

  • It lasted longer than expected. If the conversation flows naturally and you've got a lot to discuss with the interviewer, they may be interested in inviting you to the next round of interviews.

  • The interviewer mentioned potential advancements within the company. Discussing your future at the company typically means that the interviewer thinks you're the right fit and wants you to get excited about how you can grow your career while working for the new employer.

  • You discussed the next steps in the recruitment process. If the interviewer likes you, they may choose to be straightforward and tell you who you'll be meeting with next.

  • The interviewer seemed excited. Showing excitement and interest in your experience and qualifications may signify that they consider your interview with them was successful.

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Tips to improve your job interview performance

Here are some additional tips we've prepared that can help you better prepare for your next job interview:

Be sure the position is right for you

You may sometimes find yourself applying to various types of jobs in the hope that the recruiter sees potential in you. Although this can sometimes work, consider only applying to jobs that match your existing skills and experience. This can significantly increase your chances of performing well in an interview. Interviewing for a role that you consider the right step to help you grow professionally can make you more excited about the company you're interviewing with.

Review common questions and practise answers

Reviewing example interview questions that an interviewer may ask you is a great way to prepare before the meeting. It can make you feel more relaxed and confident and, as a result, improve your interview performance. You can even practise answering the questions out loud with a friend or family member.

Related: 31 Common Interview Questions and Answers (With Tips)

Show interest and excitement

Expressing your excitement about a job opportunity may show the interviewer that you're ready for bigger professional challenges and improving your skills. To show that, be sure to research the company and position. This can help you explain to the interviewer how your skills can impact the company's performance and that you'd like to advance in your career by contributing to the department's success.

Take your time to answer questions

Rushing to provide an answer to a question can mean your points aren't explained clearly. Be sure to listen carefully to what they have to say and take your time responding. This shows that you're deeply invested in the role already and want to perform well during the interview.

Ask good questions

Most interviewers expect you to ask them questions at the end of your job interview. They do this to see if you're truly interested in the position and want to know more about it. If you want to end your interview the right way, you can prepare some questions for the interviewer before the meeting.

Read more: Questions To Ask at an Interview

Tell the interviewer how your skills can help the company

Focusing your answers on how you can help the company may increase your chances of advancing to the next round of interviews or even result in getting a job offer. Employers want to help their employees grow professionally, but they typically prioritise the company's needs. If an interviewer asks you about your career goals or where you see yourself in five years, consider mentioning that your goal is to help the company succeed because it can also help you gain more experience and strengthen your skills.

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