How to tell if an interview went badly (and what to do about it)


When you’re interviewing for a job, it can be easy to assume that if you have the qualifications and experience they’re looking for, then you must also have the perfect interview.

Even if there are nerves and an interview can feel like an interrogation – with the interviewer asking you the questions rather than letting you talk – it’s natural to think that as long as you answer truthfully and appropriately, then everything will be fine. However, things don’t always go according to plan, and even skilled professionals can fall victim to tricky interviewers or an unfortunate string of interview questions.

Fortunately, there are many ways to tell if your interview went badly. Whether it was an unlucky combination of events or a sign that something isn’t quite right for you at that company, knowing when things haven’t gone well is a great first step in moving forward.

Read on for more insight:

Check your gut

It can be hard to trust your instincts, especially when you’re interviewing for a job. However, your gut is one of your most powerful interview tools. If something feels off, it’s worth taking a moment to consider what triggered that feeling.

When you’re in the interview, how do you feel? Are you calm and collected, or are you feeling the pressure? Do you feel respected and appreciated, or are they treating you with a distant, impersonal air? Are you excited or nervous, or is there a sense of dread?

The Company Atmosphere was Off

One of the most common signs that an interview went badly is that something about the company felt off. It could be a culture clash, or it might just be that something was out of place.

If you found yourself in a strange situation or if something felt off, it’s worth considering whether that’s typical for the company.

For example, you might have been interviewed by three people instead of the one you were expecting. If you didn’t get an explanation for why the others were there, that could be a sign that something is off.

If you were expecting a relaxed and informal meeting, but the interview was rushed or intense, that might also be a sign that something doesn’t fit.

You were pressured to respond immediately

Some interviewers are more aggressive than others, and it’s common to have a sense of pressure to respond immediately. However, if your interviewer was incredibly aggressive and put you under a lot of pressure to respond, that could be a sign that they are unprofessional or that something is off at the company.

If your interviewer seems uninterested in your answers and launches into a series of rapid-fire questions about your experience, that’s probably just a style of interviewing. However, if the entire interview was one long series of “when can you start?” questions, there could be a problem.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t respond, but it does mean that you should be cautious. Before you accept the job, find out what happened.

You were only asked Questions about one skill

If you were only asked questions about one skill that you have, it could be a sign that your interviewer knows very little about your experience.

That’s not always a bad thing – after all, if they’re hiring for a general position, they might have to choose skills from a wide variety of backgrounds. However, if they’re asking you questions about a skill that you don’t have, you might be in for an awkward interview.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It could be that you’re being tested to see how you respond. It could also be that your interviewer just isn’t familiar with your field.

That said, if you were asked a few questions about your experience and then a series of very general questions about your skill, that could be a bad sign.

They asked very basic Interview Questions

Some interviewers ask very basic questions. However, if they ask you only basic questions, it could be a sign that they know little about your industry, your experience, and your qualifications. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be hired. It could just mean that they need someone with a wide skill set, and you’re the perfect fit.

However, if they ask basic, general questions, they could be testing your skill or they could know very little about the industry. If they ask you several basic, general questions that have nothing to do with your qualifications, that could be a bad sign.

You could hear Breathing or noise in the Background

If you could hear background noise or breathing – either in person or over the phone – that could be a sign that your interviewer is distracted.

However, it could also be a sign that the company is unprofessional or that the interviewer is trying to trap you. If you heard breathing or general background noise during your interview, that could be a sign that the interviewer is distracted.

That doesn’t mean that you should ignore it. If you can hear noise or breathing, politely check and see if they are distracted by something. If your interviewer is trying to trap you, you probably won’t be able to tell. That said, if they have a pattern of trying to trap you, you probably won’t get the job.

If your interview went badly, you can use that as a valuable opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you need from a job.

Use your interview as an opportunity to learn more about the company, the skills and experience that you need for the position, and how you can improve your interviewing abilities.

Remember that even if the interview went badly, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be hired. It just means that you need to do more research into the company and their expectations for the role.

If you were asking How to tell if an interview went badly (and what to do about it), also you can find more answers in the articles from Interviews topic.

Summary of the article

Alvaro Saez

CEO of Chuiso and TeamPlatino. Marketing enthusiastic and spanish entrepreneur based in Madrid who combines his work as a teacher at Teamplatino with his passion for online marketing, artificial intelligence and real estate investments.

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