Wouldn't it be nice to be able to easily pick up on the telltale signs that an interview is going south...fast? Let's face it; job interviews can be as nerve-wracking for the interviewer as they are for the interviewee. They are generally crammed into schedules that are already too busy, and can often be unpredictable.
A great interview is a pleasant surprise, but most are either mediocre or down-right bad. When an interview starts to take a nosedive, the best thing you, the interviewer, can do is end it quickly so you and your ex-prospect can continue your searches.
Some indicators given off by the job candidate are as clear as day, and just about anyone who has interviewed before could surely pick up on...some others might need a tad more attention!
The following are some obvious signs of a person who either has questionable judgment or really doesn't want the job!
The candidate is…
1. Late. Being on time (or preferably early) is the quintessential rule for interviewing. If a potential new hire is tardy for the appointment to get a job, what does that say about their ability to make it to the job on time?
2. Not dressed properly. It's a business casual environment, so flip flops, and a tee-shirt are ok, right? Not so much. A suit is not always necessary, but your interviewees should always be neatly and professionally attired.
3. Talking over you. While interviewees should do most of the talking – some experts suggest 60 – 80% of the talking - they should also allow you to ask follow up questions, or even finish your original question. If you can’t get a word in edgewise, your customers might not either.
4. Not behaving professionally. We’ll say it anyway…texting, chewing gum, using swear words, eating snacks (or eating anything)... these things signal trouble… Don’t call us, we’ll call you.
Some signs are less outwardly obvious but can be indicators of trouble:
5. Knows nothing about your company. This person may be disinterested, noncommittal, or even lazy. Many job-search sites and online ads automatically include information about a potential employer’s business and background. Most companies have websites and social networking pages. It's almost harder for a candidate NOT to know about a company than to at least have some basic facts. Interviewees who are truly motivated to work for you will come prepared.
6. Body language. If you find your candidate is twirling in the chair, twirling their hair, or watching the clock more than paying attention to you, you might ask the interviewee if there is any other information they were hoping for or if you can offer anything else to get the most out of the interview.
7. Cannot provide information suggesting their strengths for the position. This may indicate a lack of preparation for the interview (not a great sign), but it may suggest the person HAS no strengths for the position.
8. Does not ask questions or attempt to connect with the interviewer. Not every job requires an outgoing people person. Still, the ability to communicate with colleagues and supervisors in a professional and friendly manner is a pretty basic requirement for most jobs and definitely a key to a successful interview.
9. Shows no enthusiasm during or at the end of the interview. If your interviewee doesn’t seem excited about the job prospect, then it is unlikely he or she will be able to bring much enthusiasm to the position itself.
If you experience any of these indicators, it’s best to wrap up the interview as quickly, yet professionally, as possible.
It may be best to come prepared to the meeting with two sets of questions: One for the candidate who stands a chance and a more basic, streamlined one for the candidate who has already tipped you off that the interview is going nowhere.