We’ve all been there: You’ve had an interview, or perhaps even went through to the final round of interviews, and now you’re wondering whether you got the job. While a job offer or a job rejection may sometimes come as a huge surprise, there are often tell-tale signs you didn’t get the job after an interview.
Although I’m not advocating a pessimistic mindset, it may save you precious time to learn to read the signs that you didn’t get the job after a final interview. Knowing when to assume you didn’t get the job will allow you to move on and look for opportunities sooner, instead of waiting for a positive response that will not come.
So, if you’re not sure about a job after an interview, here are 21 signs that you probably didn’t land the job.
1. You Feel Deflated After the Interview
Although your feelings are not always an indication of whether you got the job or not, feeling deflated and low after a job interview is generally not a good sign.
I have had many interviews in my life, and my feelings after an interview have proven to be an accurate indication of whether I got the job or not. The times that I ended up landing the job were without fail when I felt energized and confident after an interview.
2. There Was No Rapport With the Interviewer
While it’s not always the case, you can also judge how an interview went by the rapport you had with an interviewer. In the end, hiring managers and employers tend to hire people they like.
If the interviewer doesn’t smile when you make a joke or seems generally bored and uninterested in you, chances are that there’s no shortage of candidates for the position and you’re probably not in the line to get the job.
3. The Conversation Remains Very Formal
Usually, if an interviewer likes you or is seriously considering you for the job, the conversation will become more casual and chattier. If an interviewer remains stiff and formal throughout the conversation, it’s probably not a good sign since it means that they do not really have a connection with you.
While some interviewers may have a more formal interview style, they will still bond with you through small talk if they like you. The absence of some humor and small talk is normally not a good sign.
4. The Interview Was Short
If your interview was short, you can bet your bottom dollar bill that you didn’t get the job. A short interview indicates that an interviewer cut the conversation short since they decided not to hire you.
When an interviewer is interested in you, they’ll ask you many questions and will want to get to know you better. They will also offer information regarding the company and the position.
In the event that you didn’t really get a chance to say everything you wanted to, and the interviewer hardly asked you any questions or offered much information, you should make peace with the fact that you didn’t get the job.
5. The Interviewer Said They’re Still Considering Other Candidates
During an interview, there are a few things interviewers say that let you know you won’t get an offer. For instance, if they say that they’re still accepting applications or are considering other candidates for the position, they have probably decided against you as a candidate for the job. In other words, such phrases are just polite ways for interviewers to indicate that you’re not what they’re looking for.
6. The Interviewer Expressed Doubts Regarding Your Suitability
If an interviewer starts to express doubts about your suitability for the position based on your responses during the interview, this is normally not a good sign. They may indicate, for instance, that you’re over-qualified or that they’re actually looking for somebody with more experience.
While the possibility exists that you may still land the job if they don’t find a better candidate, your prospects are diminished if an interviewer seems uncertain about your suitability.
7. You Fumbled on an Important Question or Two
You may, unfortunately, ruin your chances of landing the job if your responses to important interview questions are not great. Even if your qualifications and experience align with the job requirements, a subpar interview can cost you the job.
The opposite also applies. Sometimes hiring managers end up hiring candidates they were not really considering because of an exceptional interview.
8. The Interviewer Doesn’t Provide the Steps Forward
A sure sign that an interviewer is considering you for a job is when they provide you with information regarding the next step in the hiring process. On the other hand, if the interviewer ends the interview and you have no idea what’s coming next, this is a good indication that you’re not in the lineup for the position.
Conversely, if they provide you with a date by which they’ll make a decision and you don’t hear from them by that date, it also means that you didn’t land the job.
9. You Receive No Post-Interview Communication
Learning how to know if a hiring manager wants you for the job will be beneficial to you, since it will prevent you from keeping your hopes up when, in fact, you’re no longer in the run for the job.
If an interviewer was impressed with you during an interview and wants to offer you the job, you’re sure to hear from your recruiter or the hiring manager within a few days. Conversely, if you receive no communication after your interview, you can take this as a sign that you didn’t get the job.
10. The Job Posting Is Still Active
One of the tell-tale signs that you didn’t get the job after the final interview is if the job posting is still active. Typically, a company will remove a job posting once they’ve found a suitable candidate. This is obviously not always the case.
Sometimes employers may be slow to remove job postings, even when a position has been filled. However, since applicants will keep applying when a job posting is active, most employers will want to remove the job posting as soon as the position has been filled.
11. You Were Late or Unprepared
You should obviously have some reservations about how well your interview went if you rocked up late for the interview or did not do your homework. In such a case, you should question how badly you actually wanted the job and should perhaps take this interview as a learning curve.
While being late or unprepared doesn’t automatically disqualify you, the interviewer may very well decide not to consider you since they may think you have a bad work ethic.
12. The Interviewer Doesn’t Try To Sell the Company To You
In the event that an interviewer has decided that they want you onboard, they will put some time aside during the interview to sell the company to you. Typically, they’ll give you some background regarding the history, ethos, and achievements of the company.
Their aim is, of course, to make you excited about working for the company and also to give you a chance to consider whether you’ll be a good fit for the company’s culture. If the recruiter doesn’t bother to sell the company to you, it’s not a good sign.
13. The Interviewer Doesn’t Give You Detailed Information Regarding the Role
When an interviewer is interested in giving you the job, they will definitely offer some more detailed information regarding the duties and responsibilities of the role.
They may also give you information about how the team you may be joining is structured and how things generally work in the department or company. You should take it as a bad sign if a recruiter fails to give you this information.
14. The Interview Is Canceled
If you don’t even get to have your interview, you obviously did not get the job. An employer can cancel an interview for multiple reasons.
Perhaps they found a suitable candidate before your interview date or perhaps the position has been frozen. Or, the company has contacted your references and didn’t like the feedback they received. Whatever the reason, no interview equals no job.
15. You Mentioned You Were Unable To Meet a Requirement
If you’ve received an interview invitation, it’s likely that you meet all of the basic requirements for the position. However, during an interview, an interviewer may mention requirements that have not been previously mentioned or discussed.
They may, for instance, ask if you’d be willing to travel frequently or would consider a job in another location. If you respond in the negative to such questions, the company may decide to opt for a candidate who is willing or able to meet all of the requirements.
16. The Interview Questions Are Vague or General
During an interview, you can expect a range of different questions, which may include a question or two that’s not really related to the job to perhaps test your ability to deal with unexpected situations.
However, if the interviewer fails to ask important questions regarding your skills and expertise, and they don’t really try to get to know you, it’s not a good sign.
An interviewer who just keeps asking general and vague questions is not really interested in hiring you. They’ve possibly already decided before the interview that you’re not suitable and are just doing the interview as a formality, or they made their mind up early on in your interview.
17. The Interviewer Keeps Cutting Your Responses Short
If an interviewer keeps interrupting you before you’ve finished your points and seems rushed during the interview, you can take it as a bad sign.
Even if an interviewer is really busy and pressed for time, they’ll show an interest in what you have to say if they want to hire you. If they’re really rushed but actually want to hire you, they will probably apologize and provide you with an explanation.
18. The Interviewer Returns To the Same Point Several Times
Typically, if an interviewer is satisfied with the answer you’ve provided for a question, they’ll move on to other questions. However, when an interviewer keeps returning to the same point multiple times, it means that they’ve not obtained the information they’re looking for. Possibly, this point is a problem and it may cost you the job.
19. The Body Language of the Interviewer Is Off
As you probably know, body language is just as important as verbal communication. When two people are communicating well and have a good rapport, it’s easily noticeable through their body language.
If the interviewer is interested in you, they’ll smile, make lots of eye contact, and will nod to show that they’re listening to what you have to say.
However, when the opposite is happening and your interviewer’s body language indicates that they’re disinterested or bored, you’re probably not going to get the job.
20. Your References Are Not Contacted
Another surefire sign that you didn’t get the job after an interview is if the company fails to contact your references. Companies differ with regard to when they contact your references. Some may do so at the beginning of the recruitment process, while others may do so at a later stage.
However, if the employer has not contacted your references after they’ve interviewed you, they’re probably not planning to hire you. You can ask your references whether they’ve been contacted to find out whether you’re still in the running to get the job.
21. You Don’t Get To Speak To All the People You Should Have
Instead of a panel interview, companies sometimes organize multiple interviews, one after the other, with relevant parties. If you don’t end up speaking to everyone you were supposed to, it’s probably a bad sign. Of course, there are times when an emergency can prevent one of the employees from interviewing you.
But, if the hiring manager doesn’t provide you with a solid reason why your interviews were cut short and reschedule the missed interviews, chances are the interviews were canceled because your first, or first few, interviews did not go well.