Career

Signs You Didn’t Get the Job After Interview, According to 11 Experts

Job interviews can be daunting. There’s always that feeling of uncertainty if you got the job or not.

Here are some ways to figure out if you didn’t get the job position you applied for.

Dr. J Paul Rand, MBA, CPCN

J Paul Rand

Executive Director, RSolutions (Holdings)

You scoured the internet for tips. You invested in an evidence-based career-development system such as the one provided by the Strategic Learning Alliance. You hired an independently certified, or board-certified, professional coach. You have refined your resume, go through interview preparations, you have used the best methods taught in the career-development to load yourself up with 4x more job interviews than your peers…

Now, what are the signs that you did not get the job after the interview?

Focus on results After the interview, you should immediately focus on one thing, and one thing alone – getting the next interview at another company! Time wasted analyzing, debriefing, and winding is not time well spent. Worry about this, not about if they loved you or not!

Use a process, such as the CDS system backed by evidence, and focus on getting another interview. Remember the average person interviews 10 times to get 1 offer.

Feeling cold anyone?

When there is a sense of rush or cold when escorting you out of an interview, you didn’t get the job.

Abrupt ending

Not like a pleasant conversation has gone on far too long by accident. If the interview suddenly ends as though you were nothing more than a youtube video that a hiring manager was watching to passing time before their more important meeting, you didn’t get the job.

Ghosting

When they tell you “We are early in the search and we will reach out in a month” and or they simply do not contact you back. Well, you didn’t get the job.

Forget me not

When you respond with a single follow-up email thanking the interviewer or team for their time, and they do not respond within 2 business days, you likely did not get the job.

The most frustrating thing in the candidate experience is not knowing.

Great recruiters will let you know as soon as a decision is made; including a decision to back-up twenty yards and punt (meaning you made a cut but it’s competitive with other candidates so more interviews are being scheduled). It’s also important to know that in a study I conducted in 2017-2019 with RSolutions, we found less than 65% of companies relied on the 3-step method of hire (recruiter, hiring manager, panel interview, offer).

In fact, most include assessments (written, psychometric, etc.) and multiple interviews and tag-ups. Typically, the rule of thumb is that if the company brings up “next steps” it’s a good sign you are at the top of their list.

But as a candidate, despite the frustration of being delayed, ghosted, and left wondering; keep in mind that hiring is a process. After the interview:

Send one follow-up email that is brief thanking the interviewer for their time and outlining 3 key reasons you remain interested and feel you are a good fit. Short and to the point.

Related: How to Write the Best Thank You Email After Interview

Focus on getting interviewed elsewhere (I can not stress this enough, research with over 1800 candidate applications showed this is the ONE focus that makes a difference in a positive career search!)

Do not keep asking for updates. This is rude. Even if they ghost you, always be professional and always be focused forward – not on what might have been. If the company tells you they will have the next steps in two weeks, and it’s been three. Move on.

This is precisely why your time should be focused on getting other interviews, and not wondering “Did they love me, did they love me not?”

Frederick L. Shelton

Frederick L. Shelton

Chief Executive Officer, Shelton & Steele, LLC

There are a lot of signs things aren’t going well during an interview. Micro-expressions, terse replies to your responses, etc. can all be telltale signs. But it’s what is missing at the end of the interview will confirm how you did.

They did not ‘sell’ the company to you

After you’ve spent your time selling yourself, did the interviewer start selling you on their company and what a great place it will be to work? If they were interested in moving forward, that is exactly what they will do. If not, it’s because there was no need to bother. They’re not moving forward.

They did not give any idea on the next steps of the hiring process

At the end of the interview, did they tell you what the next steps would be or who would be in touch to schedule the next meeting? If not, the odds are high that there won’t be one. They would most likely just thank you for your time and interest, with perhaps the obligatory “someone will be in touch”.

Michelle Merritt

Michelle Merritt

Business Coach | Resume Writer | Executive Partner, Merrfeld Career Management

They share their concerns about the candidate’s background, skills, and cultural fit

Interviewing can be so emotionally draining and it can be hard to know when it’s not working out. We encourage candidates to ask one key question at the end of every interview, “Do you have any concerns that would prevent me from moving forward?”

Asking this question takes courage but gives you an insight into what the interviewer thought of the interview. If he says he does not have concerns, the logical reply is, “Great! What’s our next step?”

However, if he shares concerns about the candidate’s background, technical skills, or even cultural fit, this provides an opportunity to respond calmly to address anything that might have been miscommunicated. Asking this is key to understanding where you are in the process and if you’ll be considered moving forward.

Ellen Mullarkey

Ellen Mullarkey

Vice President of Business Development, Messina Staffing

If they escort you out of the building as soon as the interview ends, however, you’re probably not going to get the job

The hiring process is expensive. It takes up a lot of time and costs a lot of money. As someone who hires people, I’m always looking for ways to cut back on the amount of time and money that goes into it.

So, I’m not going to take the time to give someone a tour if I know that they aren’t getting the job. However, I’ll usually show the person around the building or have someone else take them around if I think they might be a good fit for the role.

Maciej Duszynski

Maciej Duszynski
Resume Expert and Career Advice Writer, Zety

The interview was oddly short

If you were booked for an hour-long interview and you finished after 30 minutes – well, that’s not a good sign. If the recruiters are interested in your person, they’ll make sure to use the time you have to get to know you.

If the interview was cut short, it might mean the hiring managers were not particularly impressed with the answers you provided, and it was enough for them to decide you were not the right match.

Think of how the conversation went, perhaps you didn’t come to the interview properly prepared. Every such failure can be a productive lesson.

You start noticing things that went wrong

Your adrenaline level dropped, and you start seeing mistakes you made that make you want to facepalm and “D’oh!” yourself. Trust me – the recruiters will notice every faux pas. It’s what they’re trained to do.

You didn’t get a heads up on what to expect

If the recruiters are interested in you, they’ll make it very clear. All in all, they are on the hunt for candidates as much as you are on a job hunt, and they don’t want to miss any opportunity.

If the interview went well, the recruiters would most likely update you on the next steps and the timeline of the recruitment process. If you’re left high and dry- that’s a sign you might not be getting another invitation.

Related: How Long Does It Take to Get a Job Offer After an Interview

Roger Maftean

Roger Maftean

Career Expert, ResumeLab

Each time you leave a job interview, there will be one anxiety-inducing question on your mind as the waiting game unwraps: ‘Did I get it or not?’. The uncertainty in itself can be excruciating, as the interview process can take 21+ days. The good news is, there are surefire signs you didn’t get the job after the interview.

One such sign is the interview being cut short

Job interviews last an average of 30-45 minutes. That’s enough time for a recruiter to delve into your value proposition as well as your cultural fit. However, if the interviewer decides to show you the door much earlier than they should have, there’s a massive chance your interview went poorly.

Usually, that happens when the hiring manager thinks you’re not the right fit (e.g., culturally) for the job and doesn’t want to waste either their time or yours. In that’s the case, don’t be disheartened. There are a plethora of employers out there that will be lucky to have you on board. Just keep applying!

Casey Alseika

Casey Alseika

Accounting and Finance Recruitment Consultant, WatsonBarron, LLC

Lack of response

If you are staring at an empty inbox wondering why the company hasn’t responded to your email or voicemails for weeks after the interview, you can take that as a sign that you didn’t get the job.

How you avoid that comes down to how you interview. In terms of knowing if you are getting the job we can focus on one often overlooked aspect of interviewing, asking for the job. Interviewing is just as much about you deciding if you want the position as it is the interviewers deciding if they want to hire you.

If you want the job, take the opportunity to ask for it in the interview.

When you meet with the person you will report to you will reach a point where they start wrapping up, usually, they will ask you if you have any questions for them, that’s when you ask this question “Do you have any concerns about my ability to do this job?”

This question gives them permission to openly air their concerns and likewise gives you the opportunity to directly address them.

Then after you have addressed their concerns ask for the job. Just say it “I want this job” and then tell them why. Explain how you can make an impact there, how in this position you can use your experience, skill, etc to help the hiring manager, department and company.

Then ask what the next steps are and request a business card so you can follow up.

Doing this accomplishes 3 things, it lets them know you want to work for them (because not everyone they meet does), it allows them to tell you exactly where you stand in the process (because they usually don’t share that with you) and it sets a time frame and expectations on follow up (so you are not left looking for signs).

Sam Gavis-Hughson

Sam Gavis-Hughson

Founder, Byte by Byte

Specifically, two things that come to mind for me are:

The way that your interviewer is acting during the interview does not necessarily correlate to whether you got the job or not

So don’t assume that because your interviewer is being standoffish or because it feels like you’re not connecting with them that that’s actually going to negatively affect you in getting the job.

On the other hand, it can feel like you had the most fun time with your interview and the interviewer and you may still not get the job. It’s often very hard to tell during the interview whether or not you landed the job.

If you’re having trouble getting in touch with your interviewer or the recruiter after the fact, that’s really not a good sign

But you should still follow up with them. Recruiters get really busy and they have a lot going on. So just because you didn’t hear back from someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not going to get the job. However, it is more of a negative indicator.

Andrew Jezic

Andrew Jezic

Owner and Managing Partner, Law Offices of Jezic and Moyse

They let you know that they are still open for other candidates

One of the clearest indications that you are not getting the job after an interview is when the interviewer says, “We are still considering other candidates, we’ll let you know.”

To be blunt, the recruiter is essentially telling you that they were not impressed enough with your interview to pull the trigger and offer you the job. If they are still looking for other candidates after your interview, they are looking for something that was missing.

Matt Narciso

Matt Narciso

President, SuperStaff

The interviewer doesn’t show interest in you as a person

While I can’t speak for everybody, most hiring managers have a tedious job. We spend hours and hours looking at resumes, tossing out ones that don’t match, and daydreaming about finding ones that do.

When we finally find a resume that looks promising, it’s almost like a sense of euphoria overtakes you and then you call them in for a final interview to see if this candidate can match all the hype you’ve been building up internally, and justify the hours spent crawling through a sea of unqualified candidates.

The truth is, the opening parlay of an interview is arguably the most exciting part of the job for a hiring manager. It is the very essence of why they are in this role and believe me, poker face or not, if they called you in, they want you to be the one and they are excited.

The conversation should be candid at times and structured at others. There should be a back and forth, and the interviewer should push the narrative.

If you as a candidate feel it’s become a “check the boxes” sort of interview, with no interest in you as a person or follow up questions…..it doesn’t matter how long the interview goes, it’s already been decided. You lost.

Ryan Patterson

Ryan Patterson

CEO, SeniorAdvice

The prospective employers aren’t communicating with you after the interview

We are in a very competitive labor market so we get overloaded with resumes and we know we have to act quickly to hire great candidates when we meet them.

This often means that after an interview we know whether or not an applicant is a good fit and we will pursue them right away. Unfortunately, it also means that we don’t have the time to reply to everyone so candidates who are not being considered probably won’t get much communication.

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