4 Signs You Had A Bad Interview (And How To Recover)

by | Interviewing

Oh, no… You just interviewed for your dream role and have a feeling you bombed it!

How do you know whether you really flopped on your big day, and is it possible to recover after underperforming in a job interview?

Keep reading to uncover the signs that you had a bad interview and ways to rectify the situation:

How Do You Know If An Interview Went Bad?

Here are four signs your interview may have gone poorly:

Your conversation was unexpectedly short.

One of the clearest indicators that your interview went badly is that the conversation was incredibly short.

Although many recruiters schedule initial 15-minute screener conversations to learn more about you, your greatest strengths, and why you’re looking for a new job, you shouldn’t feel cut short.

If your interview only lasted 5 or 10 minutes, it’s likely a sign that you did poorly and won’t be considered further for the opportunity.

[Read: How To Stop Selling Yourself Short In Your Career]

Similarly, a longer interview that is rushed or cut short can be an indicator that you don’t didn’t perform well, or that the company already had someone in mind for the role and only spoke with you as a formality.

You talked too much.

Another sign that your interview went poorly is if the interviewer couldn’t get to all their questions of you.

While you want to develop rapport with your interviewer, you must simultaneously provide them space to ask all their pre-planned interview questions; otherwise, you risk not making it to the next stage in the hiring process.

Unfortunately, many anxious job seekers ramble during interviews, which can prevent a prospective employer from collecting the critical information they need to make an informed hiring decision.

[Listen: How to Confidently Interview for that Job]

The interviewer didn’t provide you with any next steps.

An experienced interviewer should provide you with the next steps in the hiring process at the end of your conversation. If they didn’t provide you with this information, it could be a sign that the interview didn’t go well.

But this indicator can often be a false one, as sometimes it’s simply the result of a newer recruiter or hiring manager who isn’t well-versed in proper interview etiquette.

That said, if your interviewer provides you with detailed next steps regarding the interview stages, this can be an indicator that you did well.

Some companies, particularly larger tech giants, will use a standardized script when speaking with candidates, so receiving the next steps in the hiring process doesn’t always mean you’re moving to the next interview round.

Your gut is telling you the interview went poorly.

Lastly, if your intuition is telling you the interview went badly, you might want to listen.

While your gut can sometimes be off as the result of unhealed trauma or humans’ inherent negativity bias, it can also give you a feeling of whether an interview didn’t do well.

Signs You Had A Bad Job Interview

When Should I Assume I Didn’t Get The Job?

As an interview coach, I encourage job seekers to never count themselves out of the running until they receive a formal rejection from a prospective employer.

In the current market, it can often take a week or more, if not longer, to hear back after an interview.

If you’re interviewing with a startup that hasn’t yet established a formal human resources function, you can often expect an even lengthier hiring timeline.

Asking for the next steps and a timeline for making a decision after each interview can really mitigate any worry. With this strategy, you can also follow up with your contact at the company if you don’t hear back by the stated timeline.

3 Steps To Recover From A Bad Job Interview

1. Give yourself grace.

For starters, be easy on yourself if you didn’t perform as well as you’d have liked in an interview. You’re not a professional job seeker.

Looking for a new position in the current labor market is stressful enough without putting additional pressure on yourself. Plus, fixating on your performance won’t change how you interviewed.

[Read: 6 Ways To Manage Job Search Stress When You’re Overwhelmed]

2. Send a thoughtful thank you email.

Next, consider whether you might want to use your post-interview thank you email to address any missed opportunities.

For example, if you forgot to mention a crucial piece of information during your conversation, or totally blanked in response to a question, you can include additional details on the topic in your message.

Importantly, though, you don’t want to spend the entire email harping on your slip-up. It’s possible that they didn’t pick up on it, and even if they did, you don’t need to draw unnecessary attention to your blunder.

3. Continue looking for your next opportunity.

Until you receive a signed offer letter and have started your first day, don’t pause your job search.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, but try to focus your attention on what’s in your control in the job search. Keep applying for positions and networking, networking, networking. All you need is one offer!

Final Thoughts

Again, please don’t count yourself out of a job until you receive a formal rejection email from the employer, as many companies have lengthy interview processes, and it’s possible they might be contacting you shortly with the next steps.

Additionally, know that a “no” for a specific position is unlikely to mean the company won’t consider you for other opportunities that arise in the future, although some do have stipulations in place regarding how long you must wait before you apply for another opening.

Finally, if you regularly find yourself performing poorly in interviews, consider whether you might need to invest in the support of a professional to improve your performance. When you’re ready, please feel free to schedule a consultation. I’m here for you! You’ve got this!

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

Dr. Kyle Elliott is the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. His expertise is in Silicon Valley and high-tech. As a result of working with Dr. Elliott, senior managers and executives have landed jobs at Meta, Amazon, Google, and nearly every other tech giant you can imagine.

A trusted career expert, Dr. Elliott’s words have been featured on Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications. He has been recognized as a Best Career & Interview Coach, Best Resume Writer for Silicon Valley/Tech Managers & Executives, and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor).

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