You sit there staring at this stranger who you probably only had contact with once or twice (once through email, and once more on the phone briefly) and wonder what is running through this person’s mind. Could they be in a bad mood? Is my first impression OK? Will my lunch come back and haunt me? Will this interview go alright? Many questions will flood the mind during this nerve wrecking first time meeting discussion of your future we call ‘an interview’.

It does take some time (of being in many interviews) and skill to learn how to read what a recruiter’s current state of mind actually is, but you could also use knowledge of basic interpersonal communications to somewhat pinpoint and gauge the recruiter’s actions and responses to your wild attempts at flooring them and getting the job. Many of which are basic human responses that become defensive and detached, often when faced with something a particular individual does not favour.

To help you out, here are 10 signs that your interview this time ain’t gonna be looking much rosier anymore:


1. Negative Body Language

Folded arms, sitting further away from you, leaning on chair side ways while talking or incessant tapping of fingers. These bodily cues could mean that they are not impressed and are finding it difficult to maintain composure and interest with the subject at hand – which is you my friend.

A situation like this is not all lost, most interviews start off with individuals all feeling a little fake, a little uncomfortable, and a little wary; but it can be turned around! Now is a good time for you to exert your own enthusiasm and drum up that confidence attribution stat to level 9 in hopes to grab attention.


2. No Eye Contact

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Stares at wall or the papers in front, eyes keep flinching to another point of focus. This one may or may not be detrimental to the health of your interview as different people have different levels of eye contact. Some may hold a Samuel L. Jackson level death stare, and some may only take fleeting glimpses of you because they are also equally shy bunny rabbits that feel uneasy.

In any case, if a recruiter finds it hard to maintain eye contact with you it can also mean that they are not being all too truthful about their assessment of your personal worth. Or maybe that lime green tie you wore is just so much a person can take.


3. Constantly Distracted

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This ties in quite snugly with the point before. The recruiter may not maintain eye contact with you because they are distracted by their phone, or their watch or maybe that little rubber elephant sitting on the tip of their pen.

All this could mean that you are just not interesting enough for them to maintain a focused attention on what you are saying or what you are presenting; and are finding other visual cues to ‘entertain’ their time with you that seems to have morphed into torture. These cues also mean that they are soon to close the book on you, and you only have a limited time to salvage the interview.


4. No Smiley Faces Around

Nobody here in the room looks like the happy looking emoticons on Whatsapp messenger. All you see are faces that have either no expression, lips that are as flat as pancakes through a hydraulic press, and lethargic movements that look like a slow mo GoPro video. You can tell that to impress this bunch would take Infinity Stone level powers and that you just have to pull through scraping.

But don’t dwell on the unsmiley faces too much. Recruiters are people too! Maybe they had a bad lunch, maybe their spouses gave them a shelling the day before, maybe they are just tired. It is up to you to liven up the mood and swing the interview in your favour! Humour is now your best weapon (but of course, wield it wisely).


5. Conversation Feels Disjointed

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Everyone has been there; a place were sentences do not flow and topics are switched often with almost no relation with each other, and before you know it, you are done. A good indicator to know whether or not the interview is a crash and burn, is that the whole conversation does not feel right.

It is not a ‘conversation’, it is a mere exchange of question and answer with no illustration in between to fill the gaps. They may not listen carefully and give disjointed follow up questions that have nothing to do with the last question they asked as well. This could mean that the recruiter is just going on with your interview for the sake of finishing the interview, maybe just to meet his/her KPI.


6. Reading Your Resume For The First Time

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As much as you have prepared for the interview, it is also the recruiter’s responsibility to prepare as well. If you notice that they have not actually read your resume before, and that only during the interview is the first time they know of your existence; your interview could just be some other recruiter’s job whom was passed it to this individual in front of you who know absolutely nothing about you. Your ship may burn up without you even suiting up.

It is now your job to help this hapless recruiter be filled in about your existence and hopefully, just hopefully that you impress him/her so much that this interview begins to grow wings.


7. Didn’t Ask Much Or Want To Know More

Oh you know that feeling. Nobody want’s to know more about you. You sad sod you. This could mean that they have either heard enough, or have already made up their mind about you, and would like to know no more about your award winning skill at knitting or that fund-raiser project you launched.

The ship may have caught fire already, but you could still exude your enthusiasm and help fill in the information about yourself without them asking about it. It is how clever you are with your sentences that you slip in information that you think might impress them, even though they may seem uninterested. Give it a shot, don’t give up hope!


8. Little To No Discussion About Your Personal Self

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If someone is interested to know you more, it is more than your professional career or work life that they would like to know. They would like to know more about you as a human being, your aspirations, your dreams, your likes or dislikes, what do you do in your free time, are you a cat or dog person, you know all those kind questions. The questions that delve into you as a person and whether you can be ‘culturally fit’ for the company and among the other staff. If they only tapped slightly on that topic or maybe even not at all, there is a very good chance that you wont be hearing from them again.


9. Recruiter Mentions That There Are Other Better Qualified Candidates

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Oh no, there goes your shot. Or maybe not. Who knows? But this piece of information may well indeed make or break you. It is their way of telling you that your chance are slim jim and you need some hard skill or outstanding element to shine through.


10. No Mention About What Happens Next After The Interview

“OK that was nice meeting you, do press the button on the door to exit, and don’t forget your umbrella!” Those were the last things you heard. OK it’s time to look somewhere else now. If a recruiter ends the interview without even telling you what might happen after it, there is a 95% chance that you did not make it for the position. If you so cleverly initiated the question of ‘what’s going to happen from here’, and the recruiter replies, “Oh we will have our discussion with the management and see what happens from there,” chances are you are never going to be smelling those carpets at the room you interviewed ever again.


So there you have some tips to help you through that treacherous process of being in an interview. Go in with a positive outlook, a sharp mind, and mindful eyes and ears to look out for these cues.

Good luck!




Posted by Joshua Boey

I write (type) stuff that may or may not make sense unless you speak otter. I also like my sugar with coffee and cream.