What are the reasons you would consider not continuing an interview? I can think of a few bad interviews I experienced that I knew were going nowhere. On one occasion, the interviewer asked my name and if I had a copy of my resume. Obviously, the interviewer was unprepared and lacked interest in me as a candidate.
There may be situations where you would like to just walk out, but is that smart? Most times you want to be pleasant and courteous. But there may be exceptions:
- When a supervisor asks a candidate what plans they had for starting a family as it would interrupt the normal flow of a project they were working on.
- When you know within 5 minutes of an interview that it’s going nowhere. Anytime the attitude is antagonistic or rude, it’s a sure sign that the position isn’t for you.
- When an interviewer blatantly flirts with the candidate or asks personal questions outside of the position to be filled. Anytime the interview changes from a professional interchange to a personal one is cause for concern.
A few thoughts to consider:
- Is the interviewer going to be your boss, or is it someone who will not be interacting with you if you are offered the job? If they are not your potential boss, then it might be worthwhile to have the interview cycle play itself out to see where it goes.
- Since the job interview is a two-way street between you and the organization, you have just as much right to ask questions of the organization as they do, but it must be within the bounds of a legal and mutually beneficial exchange.
- Is the job worth it? Sometimes the open position is a short-term job that moves you quickly to a higher assignment. Is the job opportunity a major career move? After a bad interview (if it’s only one interview out of many) ask the human resource manager what the conditions and time-line for the job will be.
There are at least a few options open to you:
- When a bad interview has begun and you definitely know the job isn’t going to work out, simple stand and say, “I have the sense that this position may not be the best fit either for me or the organization. Thank you for your consideration. Good luck.” When an interview is so short, someone will get back to you and ask why. Tell them.
- You may also want to mention your concern to the human resource or recruiting manager with whom you have been working. If you are the candidate they want to retain, you will be given another opportunity to re-interview with a more experienced, and probably higher-level manager.
- Say and do nothing and move on.
Interviews should be an open exchange between you and the principal with whom you will be working. Whenever there’s a misfit, its best to end it sooner rather than later.
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