What to Do When an Interview is Short
Usually, an interview that is cut short is a bad sign. But that’s not always the case.
It could be that they already know that you aren’t a good fit and don’t want to waste any more time with you. It could also be that they just weren’t able to get enough information from your answers.
1. The Hiring Manager Doesn’t Have Much Time
Having a short interview doesn’t necessarily mean it was a bad one. The hiring manager might have decided that you aren’t the right candidate and didn’t want to waste more of their time.
It’s stressful for the hiring manager to read through resumes, schedule interviews and meet with candidates. It takes them away from their core responsibilities and can make them feel overwhelmed.
So if you have a long job history and you’re being interviewed for a short-term position, don’t be discouraged. Instead, show that you’re able to highlight the most important aspects of your job and your experience. Also, remember to answer questions thoroughly and if there is more to say, ask the interviewer if they would like you to elaborate further. They might appreciate your fresh ideas and they’re more likely to hire you. This is especially true if they already know you are a good fit for their company’s culture and needs.
2. The Hiring Manager Isn’t Interested
There are times where an interview may be short because the hiring manager isn’t interested in you. This is especially true when the interview is with a senior manager or c-level executive. This type of interview can be stressful for the hiring manager, and it is not uncommon for them to have another candidate in mind.
If the interviewer kept talking about how you would fit in the role but never asked you questions about how you think and work, this could be a sign that they aren’t interested in you. Try talking more about how you’d be a good fit for the company and the position to change their mind.
Generally, job interviews last 30-60 minutes. If your interview was shorter than expected, it’s important not to panic. Instead, use the context clues you have to figure out why it was so short.
3. The Hiring Manager Is a Poor Interviewer
If you’ve noticed that your interviewer hasn’t been listening to your responses, or if they seem distracted by their email or a tuna sandwich (it’s ok to get hungry during interviews), it could be a sign that they’re not very good at job interviewing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be stressful for the hiring manager to feel like they aren’t getting all the information they need from you.
If the interviewer feels that they don’t have a strong sense of who you are as an individual, or that their initial impressions about you aren’t positive, then they may decide to cut the interview short. Using context clues like body language and how the interview came to a close can help you determine if this is the case. If you’re able to neutralize any potential deal breakers, then it can still be a great first impression if the interview is short.
4. The Hiring Manager Is a Good Interviewer
When an interviewer asks you questions, be sure to answer them thoroughly. You don’t want the hiring manager to get bored and stop listening. Asking questions is a great way to show the hiring manager that you are engaged and interested in the job opportunity.
If the interviewer is asking you questions, this is a good sign that they are serious about the role and have already begun to imagine themselves in your shoes. They may be looking for a candidate that can fill in the gaps of their knowledge and complement their own strengths.
The hiring manager may also have some guidelines for the next steps in the process or a timeline in mind. They could have to meet with a higher-level decision maker before making the final hire, and this is a way of speeding up the process for them. You may be asked to send in a reference or to bring work samples with you. This could indicate that they are ready to make a decision and are just waiting on the necessary paperwork.