Three Signs Of A Bad Interview (And How To Prevent It)

Interviews are the only stepping stone between you and your dream job. If everything goes right, the position is yours; if not then that's a problem. That said, a bigger problem than failing an interview is, being clueless about how the interview and interview questions went. You should be able to tell if it was good or bad after an interview.

There are numerous minute signs which can tell you if the interview is going or went bad. But for simplify things, we have compiled them into three broad signs – Duration, Communication, and Action.

signs of a bad interview

A bad interview means:
• The interview ended in a short duration.
• There was (is) no clear objective in communication.
• There was (is) no defined intent in action.

Therefore, an interview can be considered successful if:
• The interview was conducted for some considerable time.
• The communication was precise and had a rapport.
• The actions showed future affirmations of you with the organization.

Let’s go step-by-step and assess each aspect to know if and where the interview didn’t go well. So, you enter the room and find the interviewer seated in his/her seat. You exchange greetings and then take place when asked so. Then the usual series of question starts from the interviewer's side, you answer them. After a short time, you are asked to leave. The aspect of the interview we are focusing here is duration.

Duration Of The Interview

It is the simplest and early sign of interview that went bad. If you find that your meeting ended quicker than you thought, it is an indication of things not gone well. An interview is for assessing the suitability of a candidate for an available position. This aspect of evaluating candidates for the job means interviewer has to consider things like behavior, mindset along with your skill-set to know if you are suitable for the job offered, which takes time.

A premature ending to an interview surely suggests that the interviewer wasn't impressed by you; thus, did not consider you for the final job. People hiring for jobs want someone who can add diversity to the workforce in a positive sense. In such a case, you lose out if you do not make a lasting impression.

What could you do differently?

Present a strong CV. Your CV should highlight the skills that best match the job description. Emphasizing your typing skills won’t land you a programmer’s job.

Create a good impression. Get appropriately dressed for the meeting. Be confident and considerate, and respond to the questions promptly and concisely.

Initial impressions can make or break the chances of you landing your dream job. In an interview, you are judged right from the moment the interviewer(s) lays their eyes on you (since you enter the room). Hence, it is vital to have a strong skill set and mindset along with the ability of self-presentation to improve the probability of getting the job.

Now, let’s consider the next phase. Maybe your interview wasn’t for a short duration, but there were awkward moments while communicating during the process. If you failed at communicating, you would fail in the interview.

Communication In The Interview

Communication is the exchange process of ideas and opinions. In interviews, communication is what lets the interviewer know about you, i.e. your skills, beliefs, and thoughts. A good interview establishes basic knowledge about you and works to reveal additional information while subsequently assessing your compatibility with the offered position. The questions should not just scratch the surface but dive deeper into the topic.

General questions in moderation are okay. However, if you find that the majority of the interviewer's questions relate to general topics, there is a high probability that the interview is going bad.

Further, you might find the interviewer asks you a question which was asked earlier. This repeated query means the interviewer has a concern related to something. Unless the interviewer gets a convincing response, it is highly likely to cause second thoughts about you in the interviewer's mind.

Another anomaly is the interviewer not sharing much information about the offered position or the organization. What it means is that you, for the time being, are not in contention of getting the job. Hence, they do not find it compelling to speak about the position or the company. So, if you realize that the interview is not revealing additional information about the job or the company, it is a certain red-flag.

Apart from the issues mentioned above, there is also another simple way of knowing if the interview went bad. That is the overall feeling of communication. Starting from entering to leaving the interview room, if you feel that there was no connection between you and the interviewer, you are likely not to get the job. Why? As you know, effective communication is key to expressing ideas, facts, and opinions without any misinterpretation. A lack in communication means inducing misinterpretations, the last thing that you want in an interview (or communication for that matter).

A smooth and engaging interview needs contribution from both the sides, interviewer and interviewee. But as an interviewee, you only have control of one end. You have no control over how the interviewer interacts. The best you can do in this regard is to take cues from the interaction. Hence, be keen about how the interviewer interacts with you to gauge your interview progress.

What could you do differently?

Be precise in your talks. Neither more nor less. Answer only to things that you are asked about. Avoid providing unwanted information. Also, back your views with reasoning regarding anything asked.

In cases of repeated concern, try to clear every aspect of uncertainty they have in that particular regard. Try to alleviate their concerns, do not instill new ones in their mind. That completes the communication aspect of interviews.

What we talked about in the above text relates to time and verbal communication. But, interviews aren't just about verbal communication and time. It is also about non-verbal communication or actions. Actions are more influential than words in the process of communication. So, let's focus on the actions of the interviewer to know if the interview didn’t go well.

Actions In The Interview

Actions relate to any physical movement (facial expression, posture) that can be spotted with the naked eye. If you can read these movements in the interviewer, you can have a fair idea about how your interview is going. An interviewer is a human, just like you. Meaning, he or she is going to express their feelings and opinions about things either verbally or non-verbally. For the most part, actions are voluntary responses. So looking for these responses will let us know if the interview is going bad.

Broadly, there are two aspects of actions that can help – facial expression and body movement. Facial expression will tell you about the person’s mood while body movement can reveal what they are thinking.

There are times when interviewer might look uninterested in the discussion, or look disappointed. These are instant giveaways of your interview not going well. Interviewers are professionals at keeping a poker-face, or at least not changing their expressions during the meeting. However, if you find that the interviewer went from a smiley to a blank face or any such change in expression, know that things are going bad. Interviewers generally don't change expressions unless they are hugely disappointed.

A bad interview can also be reflected in the interviewer's body movement. The simplest among them to spot is the repeated scanning of your resume. If you see this, know that your performance has not been up to par. The repeated scanning is like a final chance for you to make an impression; they are trying to find something that's unique about you which might bring you in contention. Besides repeated scanning, an interviewer being in a relaxed stance, trying to hurry things, looking restless are signs of the interview going bad.

With all that said, do not focus on each of their actions. It might be the case that they are tired or not feeling well. Look for overall consistency in actions to know if you are doing good.

What can you do differently?

In an interview, it is not just the interviewer who acts. The interviewee too (i.e., you) can have involuntary responses. These responses can invoke responses from the interviewer. So being calm and relaxing your mind is essential before you enter the interview room.

Maintain proper posture while being seated. Do not stoop or relax. Sit with your back being straight. If possible, have a smile on your face. Practice smiling before attending an interview. A person only acts if they are hugely affected by a stimulus. Actions are higher degree response when compared to verbal communication. Thus, if you find the actions of the interviewer as something negative, know that your interview isn’t going well. And that completes the three aspects – Duration, Communication, and Action, that serve as signs to tell if the interview went bad.

Here’s a recap of the things.

Duration of the interview:
• It talks about the time for which the interview was conducted.
• Interviews that go on for a short time are signs of a bad interview.
• Short interview means two things – either you were not suitable for the job, or you did not present yourself appropriately.
• Having a strong skill-set with the ability of self-presentation is key to making an impression. Making a lasting impression means improving chances of getting considered for the job.

Communication in the interview:
• Communication is the exchange of views and opinions.
• Too many general questions are a sign of interview not going well.
• Repeated questions show interviewer's concern related to a certain topic, which is also a bad sign. Any information that creates a concern must be addressed promptly with apt reasoning.
• The interviewer not discussing the job or company voluntarily is a sign that he or she does not see your future in the post or with the company.
• For a successful interview, effective communication is a must, i.e., the information should be to the point and not be misinterpreted from the sender to the receiver.
• Interviewee's answer should strictly relate to the query. No additional information is entertained in an interview; hence, should be avoided.

Actions in the interview:
• Actions are physical responses to a stimulus.
• There are two aspects of actions – facial expression and body movement, both help in assessing the interview performance.
• An interviewer looking uninterested, disappointed are some signs of the interview not going well.
• Concerning body movement, repeated scanning of resume by the interviewer could be a sign of a bad interview.
• There are other body movements of the interviewer that indicate that the interview is not going well such as being in a relaxed stance, hurrying things, and being restless.
• As much as the interviewer’s action is an indicator for assessing interview performance, it is the interviewee’s actions and responses that influence them.
• Involuntary responses are a thing and unaware, the interviewee can be sending wrong or unintentional messages to the interviewer.
• Being calm and relaxed before an interview is key to controlling responses.
• During an interview, the interviewee should adopt a proper posture and neutral facial expression.

All that revised, the following set of questions should help you understand where you went wrong in an interview:
• Was the meeting much shorter than expected?
• Did the interviewer ask you about your skills or experience?
• Were you able to advocate for your skills and experience?
• Where there too many general questions?
• Did the interview had any questions repeated? Were you able to provide them a convincing response?
• Did you raise any unwanted concern with your responses?
• Did you reason your views correctly?
• Did the interviewer share additional information about the company or position?
• Did the interviewer talk or hint much about your future with the company?
• Was there any sense of rapport while communicating with the interviewer?
• Did the interviewer look uninterested or disappointed?
• Did the interviewer have any concerns?
• Did the interviewer keep scanning your resume multiple times?
• Did the interview seem hurried at the end?
• Did the interviewer ask for your availability?

It is okay if you made mistakes. Everyone does, and that is how you learn what not to do. This article focuses on the small errors that could be made by an interviewee, compiling them into three major aspects/signs that are indications of bad interviews – Duration, Communication, and Action (or D-C-A, for short). We hope this article helped you know and point out the mistakes that you might have committed in an interview.

The next thing to do

There is no formula for a successful interview; there are only guidelines. These guidelines will help you what works and what doesn't in an interview. Remember that your interviewer and hiring manager simply want to prevent a bad hire. After reading this article, you should have some idea about what was wrong with your interview. Alternatively, you also get an idea about what could go wrong in an interview. From now on, you could work on those aspects so that the next meeting you attend makes you a strong contender for the job offered.


Help us by spreading the word