There’s usually a few pretty obvious signs.
Upon concluding an interview with a prospective hirer, either in person or remotely, you usually experience one of three feelings: “that went amazing, I’m a shoo-in,” “I guess that went okay,” or “oh good heavens, that couldn’t possibly have gone any worse.” The second one is probably the most common, but today we’re talking about the third one. Sometimes you have interviews that just go so badly, it’s almost funny, or at least it would be if it weren’t your own career on the line. If you’re ever unsure about whether or not you’re on the wrong track with interviewing strategy, be on the lookout for certain signs after a bad one.
The one thing you want to provoke in an interviewer is engagement. You want them to be interested in you and the things you have to say. If they’re lounging around in their chair, checking their watch repeatedly, or if they’re performing other tasks like checking their email or riffling through their desk, then paying attention to you has become secondary to them. You’ve either already put your foot in your mouth, or you’ve simply yet to say something they’re actually interested in. Granted, they could just be a crummy interviewer, but you shouldn’t assume that.
Interviewers have to speak to a lot of prospective candidates on a given day, but if you’ve got their interest, they’ll happily make time to hear more about you and what you’re bringing to the table. Inversely, if you’re talking in circles or aren’t presenting the right skills, they’re much more likely to try and hurry you out the door. If you allocated forty minutes for an interview and it ends in fifteen, something’s definitely gone sideways.
It may be disheartening to botch an interview, but remember, even failures are learning experiences. Be mindful of where you came up short and work to improve those areas for the next time.