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How to Tell if You Blew the Interview

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Sometimes it’s obvious when you blow an interview, like when the hiring manager tells you on the spot that he doesn’t think you’re a good fit for the job. Other times, you might have a sinking feeling that things just didn’t click. There are several telltale signs that the interview was a flop, but you can take the bad experience and learn from it to be better prepared in the future.

Your Arrived Late

If you came rushing into the office 20 minutes late and without a courtesy phone call, you can be sure you just made a bad first impression. Being late to an interview establishes you as unprofessional and sends a signal that you don’t care about the value of the interviewer’s time. Next time, arrive at least 10 minutes early.

You Were Unprepared

If you weren’t able to answer a majority of questions the hiring manager asked you, you probably blew the interview. This is an indication you didn’t do your homework or you don’t have the knowledge or qualification for the position. In the future, make sure you have the skills necessary to do the job, and have a friend or colleague conduct mock interviews with you so you can practice common interview questions and responses.

You Didn’t Ask Questions

If you didn’t ask any questions at the conclusion of the interview, or worse, asked questions you should have known the answer to, such as, “So, what do you do here anyway?” it’s likely the interview was not a success. Next time, research the company in advance so you can ask intelligent questions about strategic planning, market positioning and how you can fit into the existing workplace dynamic.

You Said Something Inappropriate

If you tried to make a joke to break the ice, and it didn’t land, you might have blown the interview. You should have been able to tell by the look on the interviewer’s face if he was shocked or surprised by your behavior or conversation. In the future, keep it businesslike from start to finish.

You Trashed Your Boss

If you said anything negative about your former employer or colleagues, you probably hurt your job prospects. Even if you had a horrible and incompetent boss, don’t share that information with a prospective new employer. It positions you as a potentially disgruntled employee who might bad mouth your company in the future.


Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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