So many meetings and interviews take place over Zoom in our post-2020 world. While this can be convenient for some, it can also be a pain for others.
For example, it can be difficult to feel truly connected to someone over a Zoom call. It can also be harder to read body language or pick up on subtle cues. This may leave you wondering …
How do you know if an interview went wrong?
While there’s no way to know for sure (without asking and assuming you get honest feedback), there are still a few tell-tale signs that your interview went poorly.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common signs that a Zoom interview went wrong:
1. You didn’t feel confident
If you have a bad gut feeling walking away from the interview, there’s probably a good reason for it. There’s something to be said for intuition.
Plus, confidence can go a long way in a job interview. According to one statistic, 40% of interviewers cited a lack of confidence as the reason they rejected a particular candidate.
In other words, if you aren’t confident about being the right candidate for the job, why would the interviewer think that you are the right fit?
But remember, everything is a balance. You want to be confident without coming across too strong. According to that same article, 76% of respondents will reject a candidate if they seem arrogant.
2. You were underdressed
Just because you have a virtual interview does not mean you can show up to the meeting in a bathrobe. Employers want to know that you are a seasoned professional and that you know how to dress and act like one.
A first impression is extremely important in the interview process. We’ll touch more on this later, but how you look will – for better or for worse – contribute to that first impression.
Generally speaking, it’s best to opt for business casual. And don’t skip the pants.
3. There was no small talk
There have been times in my life when I was the interviewee and interviewer. When I was the interviewer, I can honestly say that I usually already knew whether or not I liked the candidate or thought they would be fit for the role.
So sometimes, an interview is more about getting to know the candidate on a more personal level and trying to determine whether or not they would be easy to work with.
If there’s absolutely no small talk, it could potentially be a sign that the company is not interested in getting to know you better.
4. There were typos on your resume
If you discover any typos on your resume or CV, be sure to fix them as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it may be for your next job interview.
According to Career Builder, 77% of hiring managers say they will disqualify a candidate based on typos or poor grammar. If your job search is going poorly, consider having someone proof your resume.
5. The interviewer seems uncomfortable
You can generally tell a lot by a person’s body language. The Undercover Recruiter says that about one-third of recruiters will decide whether or not to hire a candidate within the first 90 seconds of an interview.
So, if the interview is off to a bad start, the interviewer may decide they want to move on rather quickly and seem disengaged.
It may be hard to determine if things went downhill so quickly, but you may pick up on some nonverbal communication cues. This could include a lack of eye contact, weird facial expressions or a general lack of enthusiasm.
6. There is no talk of job perks
Generally, if an employer is interested in you, they want to sell you on their company. Hopefully, this includes talk of benefits and other perks.
If these benefits of the job don’t get mentioned, it could potentially be a sign that they are not trying very hard to recruit you.
Of course, not all jobs will come with benefits. So, mileage may vary on this one.
7. No details on the hiring process
Online interview or not, you generally want to walk away from the conversation knowing what the next steps will be. Do they need to do additional interviews? Do they have a timeline? Finally, do they need additional information from you?
If you finish the interview and there’s no talk about the hiring process or the next steps, it could be a bad sign.
8. They didn’t ask about your availability
Most of the time, you will be switching from another job or at least need some time to transition into a new role or position. And of course, a company will want to know when they can expect their newest employee’s anticipated start date.
One of the talking points should be about your upcoming availability. If this is not brought up at all, it may be because it’s a moot point.
9. It’s a short interview
If the interview was under the allotted time, it may be another bad sign that it didn’t go well. This could mean that they already know everything they want to know, and perhaps they do not like what they see.
An engaged interviewer who is highly interested in hiring you will likely have several questions for you. And generally speaking, they will want to get to know you. Cutting the interview short does not help them do that effectively. So, they might feel that they already know what they need to know. And that probably isn’t a good thing.
10. There’s no second interview
This isn’t always the case, but many times, there will be multiple interviews before a job offer. Usually, it’s between two and three interviews in total.
However, if you didn’t talk about scheduling another interview, it may be because you have already been eliminated as a potential candidate.
11. No mention of other team members
In many cases, you’ll be working with other employees or as part of a team. Sometimes, these team members could be brought into the interviews because (they might) have a say in whether or not they want to work with you.
If other team members are brought into the call, and you are getting positive feedback from them, it can be a good sign.
Positive feedback here could include cues such as nods, laughs, engagement, eye contact with the camera, etc. The team shouldn’t seem distracted when they are talking to you, because they will be genuinely interested in what you have to say.
12. They didn’t verify contact information
If you’re on a Zoom call with a potential employer, there’s a decent chance they know how to get a hold of you. But, generally, a very interested company will make sure they have multiple ways of getting in touch.
13. You didn’t get positive feedback
Going on job interviews is a bit like dating. You usually know whether or not someone is interested.
And the same goes for job searching. If you did not get any positive feedback whatsoever, that can be a bad sign.
14. You didn’t ask follow-up questions
I’m going to stick with the same dating analogy here. If you show no interest in the company, it could be a bad look and, in turn, make them less interested in you.
Employers want to know you did your homework a bit. They want to know that you are going to be interested and invested in the company you’ll be working for.
So, it’s a best practice to do some homework on the company and ask good follow-up questions. The Undercover Recruiter says having little to no knowledge about the company is the most common mistake made during interviews.
15. You were underprepared
If anything caught you off-guard in the interview, it might be a sign that you weren’t prepared enough. Is your portfolio up to date? Will the company ask you to perform any sample tasks? Were there any misunderstandings about the job requirements?
Make sure you read the full job description and understand exactly what an interviewer is looking for when you are job searching. Being prepared is key.
16. You haven’t heard back from them
So it’s been a few weeks since your last interview and now all you’re hearing is … crickets.
Of course, this will vary from company to company. I always recommend a post-interview follow-up email and thank them for their time, and let them know how interested you are in the job.
17. There’s more interview questions, less conversation
In my experience, a good interview flows like a good conversation. It can be a great sign when you feel like you are just having a chat with someone who is engaged, interested and generally vibing with you.
In other words, a good interview shouldn’t feel like an interrogation. Employers want to know you have good communication skills, and letting a conversation flow can be a big part of that. If your interview is a dry string of questions, that could be a potential sign that it is not going well.
Do interviewers record Zoom interviews?
This depends. But if it’s something you are worried about, you can always ask before the interview begins. But it’s also worth noting that Zoom lets you know when you are being recorded. So, worst case scenario, you shouldn’t be recorded without your knowledge.
Did I miss any signs of a bad interview? Do you have any bad interview stories? Let me know in the comments below.