Interviewing? Warning signs from both sides of the desk

Whether candidate or interviewer, there are telltale signs during an interview that something is amiss. It is your job to try and correct it and get back on track without getting thrown off stride, or realise that not every interview goes as it should and make the best of it.

Below are 8 warning signs which can portend a rough interview; 4 for candidates and 4 for interviewers.

Candidates–Beware When:

  1. The interviewer keeps you waiting more than 30-40 minutes. It does not matter how busy they are; you’re busy too, and a warning of poor time management or disregard for the role.
  2. Little preparation has been made. The interviewer has not reviewed the CV or brief, and it is clear the interview process is a burden to be hurried through rather than an opportunity to meet someone new.
  3. The interviewer cannot answer much about the role, and is ill-informed or cavalier about the scope, measurements or potential of the position.
  4. The interviewer does most of the talking, about themselves, few questions asked, and those that are anodyne–no insight given, none exchanged, nothing marketed.

Interviewers–Beware When:

  1. The candidate does not listen, regularly interrupts, and has an agenda of questions to ask without having heard answers previously given.
  2. No homework has been done. The candidate knows little about the company, is blase about the product and has a ‘caught-in-the headlights’ look.
  3. The candidate is a “show-off”, the conversation centering around “Me” more than it should.
  4. The articulation is missing. I don’t mean English fluency, but that they cannot express interest, enthusiasm or drive–clearly and cleanly. Too much hesitancy, slang, or gaps to collect thoughts and make an impact.

None of these are absolutes, obviously but be aware when you see and hear them, and know how to steer the conversation to a more engaging than controversial level.

Interviewing is not easy for either side, but if done well, with preparation, can be liberating.


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