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14 Signs an Interview Went Badly

The aim of attending an interview is to land the job, but this is not the case many times. Sometimes, we fluff this interview due to anxiety, lack of preparation, or something else. Many people do not know when an interview goes poorly, but there are subtle clues you can pick from the recruiters to see if it went poorly.

These clues are not definite and do not guarantee you’ll not be getting the job. However, a combination of more than a couple of these signs is a strong indication you didn’t do too well in the interview.

The good news is that you can even pick up some of these signs during the interview and remedy the situation by approaching the questions differently, explaining more details, or using a different approach.

Knowing if the interview went poorly after the interview can still be highly beneficial as you can learn from your mistakes, move on quickly and continue applying for other jobs.

Recruiters will typically try to mask how they feel about a candidate, but you can pick up some clues by reading in between the lines, picking up body language and expressions, among other things. Now to the signs that show you may not end up with the job:

1. Interview Duration

Interview Duration

When the interview duration is short, it is a strong indication you may not be getting the job. Usually, recruiters will have many questions to ask and even more questions to people they’d like to employ. If they find you interesting, they would want to know more about you. A good interview should last for at least half an hour, but even this is not set in stone, some good interviews may be shorter. This is especially true where there are more interviews scheduled.

2. Recruiter Does Not Maintain Eye Contact With You

Recruiter Does Not Maintain Eye Contact With You

Eye contact shows a person is interested in whatever you’re saying. During the interview, you may notice the recruiter is not making eye contact with you; instead has their eyes all over the place, on the clock, painting on the wall, desk, or the flower pot beside the door. In this situation, you can try to revive the interview by connecting with the recruiter personally. Say, mention a publication or work they’re involved in and how you found it helpful. You can also take up your energy levels to make the interview more exciting for the recruiter.

3. The Recruiter Did Not Try to Sell the Company

The Recruiter Did Not Try to Sell the Company

Usually, recruiters try to sell the company and its benefits to candidates during an interview. But they mostly reserve this for candidates they are interested in hiring. If you notice the interviewer did very little to sell the company to you, it may be a sign you’ll not be getting the role.

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4. The Recruiter is Giving a Negative Body Language

The Recruiter is Giving a Negative Body Language

Naturally, people take up some positions and do some things when they are no more interested in what another person is saying. So when a recruiter does not consider you suitable for the position, they may exhibit these signs. They include turning away from you or leaning backwards, showing no positive signal like nodding or leaning forward, among other things. You should remember that some people know how to keep an emotionless body language even when you impress them.

Also Read: How To Email a Recruiter: 5 Best Examples, Tips & Templates

5. They Don’t Smile

They Don't Smile

This may be their personality as not everybody likes to smile frequently. You should bear this in mind before you lose your cool. However, if you saw the interviewer laughing hysterically before you came in and all of a sudden their mood is as gloomy as it can be, this may be a sign that they are not interested in you and what you have to offer. Experts say you can try some light-hearted comments to lighten the mood.

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6. You Fluffed a Crucial Question

You Fluffed a Crucial Question

You prepared hard for the interview, but this particular question caught you off guard, and you fluffed it. You know you didn’t do justice to the question. This is a strong indicator that you may not be landing the job, especially if it is a vital question. The interviewer will feel you didn’t prepare well enough for the interview, and you may not be the right candidate.

7. You Didn’t Ask Any Questions

You Didn't Ask Any Questions

Didn’t you know an interview is not only for a candidate to answer questions? It would be best if you also asked questions. In fact, asking questions is essential as it shows you’ve done your research on the role and company and are highly interested in the role. If you missed the chance to ask the recruiters a couple of questions, you might have just reduced your chances of getting the job. You should prepare a couple of not-too-detailed questions to ask during an interview when the opportunity presents itself.

8. The Recruiter is Always Contradicting Your Answers

The Recruiter is Always Contradicting Your Answers

You answer a question, and the interview counters your reply; this doesn’t happen just once but frequently throughout the interview. It is a strong indication you may not be getting the job. The contradiction shows they disagree with what you’re saying. If recruiters are happy with your answers, they’ll appreciate them and not contradict them. So when you have this recruiter who keeps picking on your responses, it may mean they don’t find you suitable.

Also Read: How to Increase Your Chances of Landing a Job Offer

9. Interviewer Keeps Asking Silly Questions

Interviewer Keeps Asking Silly Questions

An interview should be a time for the recruiter to get to know you and how you can help their company. And the best way to achieve this is by asking you relevant questions about your skills, experience, education, and more. When the recruiter instead chooses to keep asking silly, unrelated questions, they may just be trying to waste your time. They are not trying to see how you can help, only trying to waste some time before ending the interview.

Also Read: Situational Interview Questions and Answers

10. You Didn’t Speak With the Expected Number of People

You Didn't Speak With the Expected Number of People

When recruiters find a suitable candidate, they try to know more about you quickly. So when you were scheduled to meet a couple of people for the interview, and you only met a few, it is a strong indicator that they didn’t find you a strong candidate and didn’t want to waste their time. This can be for interviews where a couple of top employers were scheduled to attend or a series of interviews with each of them. If a few of them miss the interview and you’re given a clear explanation, then it is good enough. But when more than a few miss out, and there is little or no explanation about their absence, you should take this as a sign.

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11. There Was a Lack of Connection

There was a Lack of Connection

The connection between the candidate and the recruiter is essential, and when you notice a lack of any connection in your interview, it may mean the interview is not going well. You should bear in mind, however, that some recruiters like to keep it strictly professional and straight. So a lack of connection is not final. Nevertheless, if the interviewer didn’t get to know you, no humor and small talk, it may mean they don’t see you as the right candidate for the job.

Also Read: Tips on How to Land a Job Interview Fast

12. The Recruiter Keeps Going Back to Review Your Resume

The Recruiter Keeps Going Back to Review Your Resume

Ordinarily, you will feel this is a good sign since they are spending more time on your resume, but it isn’t. Of course, recruiters often look through your resume as you speak, but when even an answer makes them crosscheck your resume, it isn’t a good sign. This may mean they are noticing contradicting or confusing statements. You should ask if they have any questions about your resume when you notice this.

13. They Didn’t Ask About Your Availability

They Didn't Ask About Your Availability

Asking when you’ll be available to start working shows interest. When recruiters fail to ask this question at the end of an interview, especially late-stage interviews, it may mean they don’t think you’re suitable for the position. Sometimes, this may just be an oversight, and the interviewer simply forgot to ask; you can mention your availability at the end of the interview or in your follow-up emails.

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14. The Recruiter Mentions Other Candidates

The Recruiter Mentions Other Candidates

During an interview, it should be all about you and no one else. So when a recruiter mentions other candidates during your interview, this is more like a warning to let you know you may be disappointed. Nevertheless, you should strive to give it your all and put up a good showing. You’re not out yet since you’re taking that interview.

Also Read: How to Write a Resume To Land a Job Interview


Bad interviews may be demoralizing, but you should instead see it as a lesson to get better and learn from your mistakes. Sometimes, you can correct these mistakes right there during the interview and still get the job. Other times, you have to try other positions. If you’ve taken the cue, you will be going for other interviews with better experience and readiness.