What is a bad job interview? The answer to this question is not as straightforward as one might think. There are many factors that need to be considered when determining what classifies as a bad job interview and what things we can be forgiven for and what things will almost certainly end in rejection.
The things we can be forgiven for are personal performance issues such as nerves and performance anxiety. A job interview can be a very stressful time for people and interviewers are people too and they appreciate this. Just because you showed nerves and didn’t perform to your absolute best, doesn’t mean that hope is lost.
Behaviours and actions that can result in job interview failure and are frowned upon by interviewers are things such as; failing to research the business, argumentative responses or being caught lying.
The difference between the forgivable job interview mistakes and unforgivable is that the forgivable ones are involuntary whereas the unforgivable are done by choice.
Looking for job interview tips? Check out our article 13 Top Job Interview Tips.
Can You Get a Job With a Bad Interview?
Yes, it is very possible to get a job after having a bad job interview. Hiring managers know how stressful job interviews are and the impact they can have on a candidates performance.
There are varying levels of bad job interviews and in some cases the performance level that determines if an interview was bad is subjective to both the candidate and interviewer.
Job interviews where the interviewer is visibly nervous can still be successful providing that satisfactory answers are produced and the relevant skills and experience exist. A study of 2,000 UK adults found that job interviews are the fifth-highest stressful life situation out of thirty identified situations.
Nerves and anxiety in a job interview can result in shorter, less detailed answers that are the opposite of what you should aim for. However, a good interviewer should be attuned to your nervousness and politely ask following questions to gently extract more information from you. Unfortunately, not all interviewers will do this and will stick to a set running order of questions.
If you display attitudes and behaviours in your interview such as aggression, arrogance, lying or arriving late, you have a much lower chance of receiving a job offer. However, if your skills, experience and the contents of your answers are extremely valuable then you still might be able to achieve success, depending on the attitudes of the company towards your interview and the other candidates also under consideration for the job.
What are the Reasons for Having a Bad Interview?
A bad job interview is a thing that every one of us has experienced at some point in our lives. It’s not fun to go through and it can be really frustrating. Here are a few of the most common reasons for having a bad job interview.
You were unprepared
Attending a job interview unprepared is a huge mistake and one that makes you far less likely to be given a job offer and one that really does a disservice to your abilities.
Before attending any job interview make sure you research the company and prepare answers for questions you feel you are likely to face. Check out our article The Ultimate Guide On How To Prepare For A Job Interview, to learn more great techniques.
Nerves can affect us all in different ways in a job interview and can impact the quality of the answers we give. They can also affect our confidence and the impression we give to others.
People with lots of experience with job interviews are likely to experience fewer job interview nerves, but sometimes it is simply impossible to shake them off altogether. Especially when we interview for promotions and our dream job.
To develop your confidence in job interviews and practice the answers you will give, practice job interviews with a family member or friend.
Poor timekeeping can impact us massively in a job interview.
Firstly it gives off an immediate bad impression with the company as you will appear unorganised and unreliable unless you have a very plausible reason.
Going into the interview on a bad footing will make it more challenging for you to turn around the perceptions of yourself. Some organisations may even cancel your interview if you arrive late.
Secondly, by arriving late you are likely to be rushing around and feeling stressed which results in giving poorer answers and not taking the time to think through the very best answer you could give.
It is important to go into a job interview feeling relaxed so that you can pace your responses to questions, rather than feeling rushed and pressured.
The answers you give could be simply not good enough for the role you are interviewing for.
The answers you give should demonstrate an understanding of:
- what the question is asking
- how it relates to the organisation
- how it relates to your skills and experience
It’s impossible to know every question that you will be asked in a job interview, but it is reasonable to assume questions might be asked about what appears on your résumé/CV. Know in your mind how you will respond to questions regarding them and how you can work them into other answers that don’t directly ask but relate to your skills and experiences.
Sometimes you can spend hours preparing for a job interview and enter the interview feeling confident and relaxed and then you are faced with a bad interviewer.
There are two main ways in which a job interviewer can be poor which directly impacts our ability to put together a high-quality job interview performance.
- They are not nice people – Sometimes we encounter people who we are just not compatible with. We find their attitudes aggressive, rude or arrogant. When we have a visible dislike for someone it can impact the reactions we have to their questions and also make us feel like we don’t want the job and you have wasted your time.
- They ask a poor series of questions – Our minds might be full of wonderful answers that we want to share with the company that really shows off our strongest traits and abilities, but sometimes the questions just don’t line up for us. During your interview if you feel the questions aren’t favourable towards what you would like to share, try to work extra information into your answers regarding the information you feel is most important to be shared and discussed. Depending on the questions this can be difficult. Begin to build in your mind additional questions to ask at the end that will lead to a discussion around the points you feel make you the most qualified for the job role.
You failed to qualify yourself for the job
It is possible for us to be offered job interviews for roles that we on paper we are not a perfect match for. We might be missing certain skills desired on the job description or we might be looking for a promotion into a level of role we have never worked at before.
When we have job interviews like this we need to work hard to make our strongest skills outweigh the missing ones or demonstrate sufficient knowledge to show we are ready for a promotion.
Failing to do so is likely to see us overlooked for stronger candidates with closer matching skills and experiences. Through this rejection, there are still many things you can learn. Seek feedback to understand the areas that you can improve on when interviewing for similar roles in the future.
Sometimes we can arrive at a job interview and immediately feel let down by the surroundings we find ourselves in or feeling disappointed with the information received from the people we are interacting with.
When we don’t like what we see or what we are hearing this can impact the quality and effort we put into our answers and make us feel like we have wasted our time.
It is not uncommon for a job recruitment agency or job description on a job website to oversell how exciting a job opportunity actually is. This can lead us into a great excitement that in turn creates motivation. Unfortunately, this can come crashing down after feeling underwhelmed by the facts presented in the job interview.
If this is a position you find yourself in chances are you won’t care too much about getting rejected for the job. Take it as a learning opportunity and look to understand the language used by recruitment agents and job descriptions to avoid making similar mistakes again.
How to Avoid Having a Bad Job Interview
To avoid having a bad job interview, you should prepare well in advance. You should research the company, know what they are looking for, and prepare answers to common questions and questions you think will likely be asked of you.
You should also understand what is expected of you in this position and how your skills and experiences will help them achieve their goals.
It is recommended to take time out before the interview and go over some past job interview performances and the feedback you received in order to fix any weak areas.
How to Recover from Having a Bad Interview
A bad job interview can be a very stressful experience. It is important to remember that it is not the end of the world. There are many ways to recover from a bad job interview and get back on your feet.
The first thing you should do is review your performance during the interview. What did you do well? What could you have done better? Did you answer all of the questions asked? Did you answer them in a way that was clear and concise? Were your answers too long or too short?
You should also review the feedback that was given by the interviewer. Was it positive or negative feedback, and what were some of the things they said about your performance?
A common mistake people make when they have had a bad job interview is that they don’t consider what went wrong during their process in order to avoid making the same mistakes again.
Check out our article 7 Things to do Immediately After a Job Interview to learn techniques on how to get the most value out of your job interviews, even the bad ones.