We have all had them – bad interviews. Maybe you were asked questions that caught you off guard and weren’t what you were expecting. At times it could just be a general feeling that things weren’t going well.
A colleague told me about one of their worst experiences encountered when being interviewed by a panel of three people. Two of those were fairly senior staffers, one of which was the direct supervisor of the position. The other person was from human resources. A couple of questions into the interview, the most senior person asked a question then promptly got up from the table. Not sure what was going on, they looked at this person to find they were rummaging around on their desk looking for something. They then looked quizzically at the other two panel members and they seemed just as stunned. When the person realised there was silence, they just said, “go on”.
It was at that moment my colleague knew that they had no chance of securing the position and felt totally bemused. These were all people who were well known to my colleague and who were aware of their capabilities.
So, how do you tell if an interview is going badly?
- No eye contact by those on the interview panel
- The interview is cut short
- Interviewer seems distracted or disengaged
- Interviewer leaves the room
- You are thrown off by strange questions
- No information is given about the role at the start of the interview
- You didn’t ask any questions
- You aren’t asked about your skills or experience
While this list is not complete and needs to be contextualised to the individual situation, you can easily pick a few that you might have come across.
Is it ok to get up and walk out? The answer is yes. Remember to be polite about it, you have nothing to lose by using manners. Wait until the next question and just apologise and state that you feel the role is not for you.
On the flip side, going through the whole interview process can also be a valuable experience. There is something to be learned from each interview – good and bad.
After the interview make some notes on what you think went well and not so well. It will help you identify if it may have been a reaction you had to a question or if it was just a bad experience. You can use this downloading process to identify areas for improvement and give the best interview you possibly can next time.