10 Signs You Didn’t Get the Job After an Interview

By Mike Simpson

Let’s face facts; company hiring processes are usually a bit mysterious. Candidates may not know whether they’ll get a job offer for days or weeks after meeting with a hiring manager. Well, at least not officially. Unofficially, there can be signs you didn’t get the job after an interview.

By knowing the signs an interview went badly, you can manage your expectations and move onto new opportunities with greater ease. If you’d like to learn more, here’s what you need to know about signs you didn’t get the job after an interview.

The Moments After an Interview

Before we dig into the signs that an interview went badly, there are a few points we need to cover. First, it’s crucial not to get down on yourself prematurely. In many cases, you are your harshest critic, and there’s a good chance that you view your performance more negatively than the hiring manager does.

Second, just because you see some of the signs you didn’t get the job after an interview listed below, that doesn’t mean your job search is doomed. Your perception of the meeting may be skewed because you were anxious, for example. Additionally, not getting an offer this time doesn’t mean your next interview won’t lead to one.

Plus, you can’t read the hiring manager’s mind. There’s a chance you’re misinterpreting the situation, especially since you don’t know the hiring manager well. For example, maybe what you perceive as stand-off-ish is the hiring manager’s typical stoic nature.

In the end, you won’t know the results of your interview for sure until you get an official decision. Even if things don’t go your way, don’t beat yourself up about it. Only one person gets the job, and there may have been dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants. Plus, other opportunities will come around. You just have to keep up with your search.

While you wait to hear about the hiring manager’s decision, let the process unfold naturally. While sending a thank you email right away and following up again a week or later is fine, resist the urge to reach out too quickly or too often.

If you try to speed things up, you could make the situation worse. Hiring managers don’t like feeling pushed by candidates, so being too aggressive with your follow-up could do more harm than good.

Similarly, don’t dwell on every mistake you made. While taking a moment to reflect is fine, don’t let yourself get stuck.

Try to keep your cool and, instead of concentrating on that one job, focus your energy on your job search in general. That way, you can maintain momentum and keep your eyes set on the future.

10 Signs You Didn’t Get the Job After an Interview

Usually, there is no way to know for sure that you didn’t get a job until you hear from the hiring manager. However, some other indicators suggest an offer isn’t likely.

Here are ten signs you didn’t get the job after an interview.

1. Cutting the Interview Short

One of the clearest signs an interview went badly is when the hiring manager cuts the meeting significantly short.

Now, being escorted out of the office five minutes before an hour-long interview is scheduled to end isn’t necessarily something to worry about. In that case, the hiring manager may have factored in the time it takes to walk you toward the exit and exchange goodbyes.

However, if you were scheduled for an hour but the hiring manager wraps things up at the 30-minute mark, that’s different. In that case, the odds are high that you won’t be selected.

2. Not Getting an Update Based on Their Timeline

If the hiring manager said they would be contacting candidates within a specific timeframe, such as one week after your interview, and you don’t hear anything at that time, that isn’t a positive sign.

While it could mean that the hiring manager encountered an unexpected delay, most won’t leave their top candidate hanging. Instead, they reach out promptly to explain that the timeline changes to keep the job seeker engaged. As a result, if you don’t hear anything within a day or two of their deadline passing, there’s a good chance that you aren’t getting an offer.

3. Crickets After Your Follow-Up Emails

If you send a properly timed thank you email or follow-up message and it goes unanswered, that could mean that the hiring manager isn’t interested in bringing you on board. Most hiring managers will respond to their preferred candidate to ensure they feel valued, at least letting them know that their message was seen. If that doesn’t happen, that could mean that they’ve set their sights elsewhere.

Now, there is also a chance that your email got buried in a sea of incoming messages. That’s why a second follow-up may not be out of the question. However, if you send a second well-timed message and you still get nothing, it’s a really strong signal that you aren’t getting hired.

4. Reposting the Job Ad

There are situations where reposting isn’t a bad sign. For example, some companies have to hire multiple people for the same role in quick succession, particularly those that bring in seasonal staff. In those instances, a reposted job ad doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

However, if the company wouldn’t need several people for the same job, seeing the job ad for the position you interviewed for reposted usually means an offer isn’t coming. Instead, they’ve decided none of the last set of candidates was a good fit and is looking for a fresh group of applicants.

5. Not Wanting Your References

As your interview draws to a close, if you’re not asked for your reference list, that usually means the hiring manager isn’t interested. After all, they don’t contact references unless they feel someone is a top contender.

Similarly, declining your offer to provide a reference list isn’t a great sign. However, in a way, it is a courtesy, as it lets you know that they aren’t planning to pursue you, albeit indirectly.

6. No Follow-Up Questions

If you think back on your interview and realize that the hiring manager didn’t ask any follow-up questions about your skills, experience, or achievements, that’s a bad sign. The lack of interest usually means they don’t feel you’re a strong candidate for the role and they’ve decided to stop digging.

MIKE'S TIP: There are situations where a lack of follow-up questions isn’t indicative of a problem. Some companies – and many government agencies – have very regimented interview processes and don’t allow hiring managers to ask questions that aren’t on an approved list. Usually, this ensures that interviews are fair for candidates, guaranteeing that everyone is asked the same things during their interview. In those cases, no matter how interested they’d be in learning more, they are barred from digging deeper. As a result, a lack of follow-up is only a clear sign that the hiring manager is dedicated to the process and isn’t reflective of their interest in you as a candidate.

7. Sharing Nothing About the Company or Job

If the hiring manager doesn’t highlight what makes the company or job special, an offer isn’t likely. Most hiring managers will use part of the interview to “sell” top contenders on the role, hoping to prime them for an incoming offer. If the hiring manager doesn’t make that effort, there’s a good chance that they aren’t considering you for the job any longer.

8. Dwelling on How You’re Overqualified

When the hiring manager says that you’re overqualified for the job and can’t seem to get over it, that usually means they will not move forward with you. In some cases, it’s because they assume that you wouldn’t accept the available salary or that you’d get bored in the position, causing you to make an early exit. If you spend time trying to alleviate their concerns and they still can’t seem to get past it, don’t expect an offer.

9. Mentioning Other Candidates

If the hiring manager tells you that they are interviewing more candidates or are considering other applicants, that usually isn’t a great sign. Typically, they won’t bring up other contenders if they know they want to offer the job to you.

Additionally, some hiring managers mention other candidates as a subtle way to indicate you weren’t chosen for the role. Essentially, they use this approach to encourage you to move on without telling you to directly.

10. Behavior Changes

Even if the hiring manager doesn’t tell you they aren’t interested verbally, their body language may say just that. Keeping their arms crossed over their chest, not making eye contact, or leaning away from you can all be signs that the hiring manager will not pursue you as a candidate.

Similarly, if they were taking notes at the beginning of the interview but stopped over the course of the meeting, that usually means they aren’t interested. Glancing up at the clock repeatedly is another bad sign, as well as quickening the pace of the questions or interrupting you while you’re answering.

Spending too much time looking at your resume instead of talking to you isn’t ideal either. It’s a classic way to disengage without outwardly seeming disinterested, ensuring they come across as polite even though they’ve made up their mind.

Next Steps

If you either get turned down for a job or are pretty sure that an offer isn’t coming, that doesn’t mean you should give up.

Overall, it takes around 100 to 200 applications to land a new position in a typical job market. Today’s labor shortage may work in some candidates’ favor, increasing the odds that they’ll land an offer faster.

However, that isn’t a guarantee, even in the current climate. As a result, you don’t want to lose momentum during your job search.

First, spend a moment reflecting on your last interview. Identify what went right along with what could’ve gone better. Treat it as a learning experience, allowing you to hone your job interview capabilities and perform better next time.

If the hiring manager mentioned that you didn’t have a skill or kind of experience they wanted, research how you can get it. Maybe you can sign up for a course or ask your current employer for new responsibilities, allowing you to turn yourself into a stronger candidate.

After that, it’s time to focus your energy on new opportunities. Review your past applications and see if it’s the right time to follow up on any of them. Reignite your job search by:

    • Heading to job boards to find new job ads
    • Adjusting job alerts to find stronger matches
    • Connecting with recruiters that can help you find openings
    • Speaking with members of your network that may be able to assist.

Along the way, keep your head up. Most people don’t land every job they interview for, so it’s okay that this one didn’t pan out.

Usually, it takes quite a few attempts before anyone secures a new job offer. So, remain diligent about your job search. That way, you can find another exciting opportunity as quickly as possible, allowing you to ultimately land an excellent career-boosting position.

Putting It All Together

In the end, any of the signs you didn’t get the job after an interview above could mean that your best bet is to continue with your job search. Focus on finding new openings that could meet your needs, ensuring you can maintain your momentum and ultimately land a great opportunity.

However, it’s also important to remember that it isn’t officially over until the hiring manager says you didn’t get the position. While you don’t want to follow up too aggressively, do be aware that you may get an unexpected call. So, spend some time reflecting on whether the role could be a good fit, too. That way, if they do extend an offer you weren’t anticipating, you’ll be ready to respond.

About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.