How Do You Know If A Job Interview Went Badly?

The situation, you’ve just been to a job interview that you thought went well, however, what did the interviewer think? Did they like you? Are you in the running for the job?After any job interview, I would highly recommend that you sit down and have a serious think about whether the job interview went badly or went well.

It’s very important that you do this as you don’t want to get your hopes up for a position that you’re not in the running for. Especially if you’re risking other opportunities that you may have.

After Your Job Interview

First point, I would highly recommend that you don’t put on hold any opportunities you could have and carry on interviewing elsewhere until you have signed the contract. Over the years, I’ve seen hundreds of jobs that have gone wrong through no fault of the candidate. That said, it’s still important that you think about a job interview and how it went.

In my experience, it’s very easy for candidates to tell if an interview went very well or very badly, but there are still a large percentage of interviews where you will leave with no idea on how they went.

10 Signs Your Job Interview Has Gone Badly

Below I have outlined 10 signs that you can use to tell if your job interview went badly. Remember, this is not an exact science and even if you think it’s gone badly, you might be surprised.

  • Interview Time – The average interview length is around 45 minutes. Some do go on longer, especially if the candidate is really good or there is a lot to discuss. If your interview is 20-minutes long where the hiring manager quickly runs through some parts of your CV, asks a few questions and finishes the interview, it’s not a good sign.
  • No Business Card is Given – Yes, there are times when I have forgotten my business cards, however, if I think a candidate is any good, I will give them my business card and ask them to call me with any problems or questions that they have.
  • The Interviewer Keeps Taking Phone Calls – ​This shows that the interviewer really has no interest in speaking with you and would prefer to get on with their work. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, however, it’s a very fine line. Personally, there are very few times over the last 10 years that I’ve taken a call whilst interviewing a candidate.
  • There is No Mention of the Next Stage – ​At the end of every interview, you need to ask the question, “What is the next stage?”. If there is no response, or the response is: “Our HR will follow up with you”, most likely the interview has not gone well. If the hiring manager is interested in meeting you again, they will tell you and be interested in where else you’re interviewing. The last thing a hiring manager wants to do is to find a candidate that they really like, interview the candidate multiple times, only to find out at the last minute that the candidate has accepted another job offer that they never knew about.
  • The Interviewer Looks Bored – We can all give that “I am bored look” when we need to.  If the interviewer looks bored and is not really paying any attention to what you’re saying, most likely the interview is not going very well. Hiring managers want to attract you to the business if they feel that you’re the right candidate.
  • No Job or Company Information – ​Yes, you can ask questions, however, if an interviewer does not tell you about the company or role, most likely they’re not interested in you. Also, the level of detail is important, if you’re just given rough details about the job that you’ll be doing or the company, most likely the hiring manager is not interested in you and is just trying to bide their time a little before the interview finishes.
  • You’re Not Allowed to Ask Any Questions – ​Interviewers will ask you for your questions at the end of your interview, as it’s a great way to test you as a candidate on your level of interest for both the company and the job. In your job interview, there is no possible way that you can understand all the plans for the company, the role and where this role will go to in the future, therefore, if you don’t ask questions at the end of the interview, you’re showing that you’re not interested in the role or the company. Hiring managers know this, and if they don’t give you the opportunity to ask questions, most likely they’re not interested in you.
  • Basic Manners – ​Basic manners are always important, and for the most part all recruiters and hiring managers have them. After your interview has finished, they will shake your hand and show you out of the room. If, as soon as the interview has finished, they leave you sitting in the interview room, this is, firstly, the type of boss that you don’t want to work for, and secondly, an indication that the interview has not gone well, and you will not be asked in for another round of interviews.
  • The Interview Tells you that You’re Not Right for the Role – ​This is an obvious one, but it’s happened before that candidates have been told during an interview that they are not right for the role.
  • You’re Not Introduced to Other Team Members – If I really like someone I will often show them around the office and introduce them to other members of my team for a second opinion. If this does not happen, you’re probably not right for them.


Even if the interview has gone terribly, don’t burn your bridges.  Follow up with the hiring manager in the right way and ask them for feed-back.  Maybe it’s just a basic problem with your interview technique that you could change that would allow you to be more successful in the future.

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Nick Jones

My name Nick Jones, I am a professional Head-Hunter with over 20 years of experience working all over the world. I specialise in out-of-the-box job search strategies to get your CV directly to the hiring manager, thus skipping any ATS portals or recruiters who think they're important.

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