5 signs your interview went badly (and what to do next)

When you’re not sure how the interview went but have a feeling it wasn’t great, here are 5 ways to tell that it indeed went badly and what to do next if so.

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Typically – and hopefully sooner than later! – after applying to jobs for a while you’ll eventually land an interview or two. Some things you might ask yourself after going to a job interview are:

“Did my answers make sense?”
“Did the interviewer like me?”
“Was my interview outfit okay?”
“I wonder how I stack up against other candidates?”
“When will they get back to me?”

Asking yourself these questions and waiting around for the company’s response is all it seems you can do, doesn’t it? Unless, of course, you totally bombed the interview…in which case you’re probably also kicking yourself and wondering why even bother.


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Then what?

For those times when you’re not sure how the interview went but have a feeling it wasn’t all the great, here are 5 signs your interview indeed went badly and what to do next if that’s the case.

1. You’re unable (or struggled really hard) to answer multiple interview questions

There are a myriad of acceptable responses to any interview question, but silence is not one of them. If the interview questions were so unexpected to you (or you were so nervous) that you were unable to answer one or more of them at all, it’s unlikely that you were the strongest candidate for the role.

2. The interviewers don’t make eye contact with you

If interviewers aren’t connecting with you – evidenced through eye contact, smiling, and delving deeper into your responses with further questions – the interview may not be going as well as you planned. There can be a number of reasons for this: they’re not engaged with their conversation with you, you came underdressed, you have a negative history with the company or an interviewer, or you seem underwhelming as a candidate.

3. The hiring manager asks you to follow up with an assistant

If the hiring manager refers you to an assistant for follow-up or shares more than once how qualified your competition is, she might not be feeling strongly about your candidacy for the role. This might be because the information you shared in your interview revealed lack of qualification, you weren’t clear or convincing in your responses, or your responses don’t align well with your resume.

4. The interview is cut short or ends abruptly

It’s hard to tell when the team cuts your interview short since you likely don’t know their standard process. If your interview seems to end abruptly or unnaturally – or the whole thing lasted less than 30 minutes – it might be a sign that the team has already ruled you out. If it happens after a question you didn’t answer well, the chances are even greater that you were cut short.

5. Nobody asks how soon you can start

If you leave the interview and are never asked how soon you could start if offered or how much notice is required in your current role, you might not be a top candidate for the role.

What to do next

How you rebound after a poor interview experience determines your future success. Here’s what you can do to grow after a bad interview:

  • Work to identify where you went wrong. Be honest with yourself and schedule time with yourself to work on problem areas – whether that’s being more punctual, being more prepared, answering questions more clearly, or being more relaxed during interviews.
  • Contact the hiring manager via email for feedback. You can simply say, “I appreciate the opportunity to interview with your company. Would you be willing to share some feedback about my interview so that I can improve for the future?”
  • Study up on how to dress for an interview and be sure to follow those guidelines next time..
  • Practice in advance next time. Run a quick Google search of “common interview questions for” the job you’re seeking, and practice answering those questions in the mirror prior to your interview.
  • Read up thoroughly on the company before the interview. At the very least know what they do and also get to know their culture and what they look for in a candidate. You can typically find that information on their website, social media, and on employee review sites.
  • Go over your interview responses and specifically those that relate to past roles and bosses. Never, ever throw a company or boss under the bus in your responses and always take accountability for the outcomes you achieved.
  • Forgive yourself. Nobody is perfect and the only way you can truly rebound from a bad interview is to acknowledge it, learn from it and move on.

This article originally appeared on Kununu. 


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Linda Le Phan|is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu US, a place where job seekers can get an authentic view of life at a company and where employers have a trusted platform to better engage talent