Signs a Job Interview Went Badly

Calendar Icon
February 4, 2020
Edited by
Clock Icon
min read

The interview process can be overwhelming. You want to nail each interview and impress the hiring manager, but in reality, not every meeting will be a positive experience. Here are some signs to know if you just had a bad interview. 

4 bad signs from the interviewer

Every hiring manager conducts an interview differently. If you pay attention to the signs throughout the process you will know if it was a good or bad interview. Take some time to read the signs you got after an interview.

Did the hiring manager make you feel like you are the perfect candidate for the job? Or did the interviewer cut your time short and stick to generic questions? Here are some key things to note.

1. Body language

Pay attention to the interviewer's body language during your interview. Are they making eye contact and engaging with you as you answer questions? It can be a bad sign if the person you are meeting with seems distracted and stiff.

If the hiring manager is engaged and leaning in as you speak, it's a positive sign the interview went well. In fact, it's one of the top signs interviews went well.

2. Verbal hints

Interviewers send out a lot of signals during an interview with what they say. As you are answering questions during your interview, listen to what the hiring manager is saying.

Are they sharing details about the company and perks of the job, such as salary, next steps, or a reason why they have a feeling you'd fit the position? Or is each question generic and short?

During your job interview, if you hear some of the following phrases, chances are you aren't getting that job.

  • We are still meeting with other candidates
  • Let me share some career advice with you
  • I'm not sure your experience matches the job description 

3. Short interview

The amount of time an interviewer spends with you is a huge indicator of how your job interview went. Your interview time will vary depending on who you are meeting with at the company. Your initial interview with a recruiter or human resources representative may only last a few minutes.

Hiring managers are likely to spend more time to discuss and ask detailed questions related to the job and your experience at jobs elsewhere. If you feel your interview was cut short, it could be a sign of a bad interview.

4. Didn't meet many people at the company

The more people you meet at a company you are interviewing with, the better. Interviewers are likely to introduce you to additional team members if they feel you have the skills and are a pretty good fit for the job.

If you were scheduled to meet with four people and you only end up interviewing with one or two, that could be a bad sign. If the interviewer gives you a tour of the office and makes you feel like you already work at the company, those are signs an interview went well. 

Tips on how to do well in an interview

  • Practice answering interview questions 
  • Ask a mentor for career advice
  • Spend a few minutes researching the company before your interview 
  • Arrive on time for all interviews 
  • Send a thank-you note to the interviewer and other managers at the interview
  • Dress appropriately and be prepared with answers and relevant comments
  • Note that signs you got a job after the interview might not be apparent just yet, but always do the above

Good signs to look for after an interview

After an interview, there will be signals to look for to know how it went. Did the company ask for references during the conversation? Did they talk about company perks and benefits? Did the hiring manager quickly reply to your follow up thank-you email? These are all good signs you got the job after an interview.

A bad interview could even be overshadowed if a higher-up interviewer seems to think you'd be a great hire for the role, so pay attention to their body language too.

>> Read More: Good signs you got the job

What do I do if my interview went poorly?

Interviews are stressful and not everyone is great at conducting them. Hiring managers are not all great interviewers. If you are interviewing with multiple people, and one round is not perfect, it’s not always a bad sign. Hiring for an open job can be a daunting task for interviewers as well. 

Trust your feelings. You know if your interview went well. If your job interview did not go as planned, don't stress. There will be other opportunities for you to land a great job, so just don't give up.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are subtle signs that my job interview didn't go as planned?

Subtle signs of a poor interview can include a lack of engagement from the interviewer, such as minimal eye contact or not taking notes. If the interviewer seemed distracted or rushed through the meeting, or if there was no discussion of next steps or timelines for a decision, these could also be indicators that the interview did not go as well as you had hoped.

Can the length of an interview be an indicator of its success?

Yes, the duration of an interview can sometimes reflect its success. If an interview ends abruptly or is much shorter than expected, it may suggest that the interviewer has decided not to proceed further with your application. However, this is not a definitive sign as some efficient interviews can be brief yet positive.

Is there anything I can do after an interview if I feel it went badly?

If you feel an interview went badly, you can still take proactive steps. Consider sending a thoughtful follow-up email to thank the interviewer for their time and reiterate your interest in the position. Address any points you feel were not well communicated during the interview and provide any additional information that supports your candidacy. This can sometimes help to mitigate a less-than-ideal interview performance.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

We help you find
the career dream.