How to Know When You Haven’t Got the Job Within 2 Minutes of an Interview

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

The job interview is a nerve-wracking experience for most people. You’ve spent hours preparing, researching the company, and rehearsing your answers. But sometimes, within just a few moments of the interview, you might get the sinking feeling that you haven’t got the job. In this article, we’ll explore the telltale signs that indicate you’re not the chosen candidate, even within the first two minutes of an interview.

1. Lack of Warmth from the Interviewer

First impressions matter. If your interviewer seems disinterested, unenthusiastic, or even outright cold, it could be a sign that you’re not their preferred candidate. Pay attention to the interviewer’s body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. Are they making eye contact, or do they seem distracted? Remember, though, that some interviewers may just have a more reserved demeanor, so don’t jump to conclusions too quickly.

2. Your Qualifications Are Immediately Questioned

If the interviewer starts questioning your qualifications or experience within the first couple of minutes, it’s not a good sign. It might indicate that they’ve already made up their mind about your suitability for the role, or perhaps they’re simply trying to see if you’ll become defensive. Either way, it’s essential to remain calm and confidently address any concerns they might have.

3. The Interviewer Mentions Other Candidates

In some cases, the interviewer might bring up other candidates early in the conversation, stating that they have a strong pool of applicants or that they’ve interviewed someone who’s a perfect fit for the role. This is usually an indication that you’re not their top choice and that they’re trying to subtly let you know your chances are slim.

4. The Interview Is Cut Short

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A job interview typically lasts for at least 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the position. If your interview is cut short within the first few minutes, it’s likely that the interviewer has already decided against hiring you. They may provide a vague reason for ending the interview early, such as time constraints or an urgent matter to attend to. Regardless of the reason given, a truncated interview is a red flag.

5. The Interviewer Shows Little Interest in Your Answers

An engaged interviewer will listen attentively to your responses and ask follow-up questions. If you notice that your interviewer is not paying attention or seems uninterested in your answers, it could be a sign that they’ve already made their decision. Watch for non-verbal cues, such as looking at their watch, fidgeting, or checking their phone, which can indicate disinterest.

6. The Interview Becomes Informal

Sometimes, an interviewer may realize early on that you’re not the right fit for the position, but they might still want to keep the conversation going. The interview may shift from a formal tone to a more casual one, with the interviewer asking questions about your personal interests or discussing unrelated topics. While this can be a pleasant experience, it’s often a sign that you’re no longer being considered for the role.

7. No Discussion of Next Steps

During a successful interview, the interviewer will typically discuss the hiring process’s next steps, such as additional interviews, reference checks, or a timeline for their decision. If the conversation ends without any mention of next steps, it’s a sign that you’re not being considered for the position.

How to Respond

While it can be disheartening to realize that you haven’t got the job within the first few minutes of an interview, it’s essential to remain professional and continue to put your best foot forward. You never know when your performance in an interview might lead to other opportunities within the company or a referral to another position. Additionally, the interviewer’s initial impression might change as the conversation progresses, and they learn more about you and your qualifications. Here’s how to respond to this.

Take Every Interview as a Learning Opportunity

Even if you realize early on that you’re not the chosen candidate, treat each interview as a chance to learn and grow. Reflect on the experience and identify areas where you can improve your interview skills, such as communication, body language, or storytelling. Seek feedback from the interviewer if possible, as this can help you prepare for future job opportunities.

Don’t Dwell on Negative Outcomes

It’s natural to feel disappointed or frustrated when you don’t land the job, but it’s important not to dwell on negative outcomes. Instead, use the experience as motivation to continue refining your job search strategy and building your professional network. Remember that rejection is a normal part of the job search process, and perseverance is key to finding the right opportunity.

Keep Searching and Stay Positive

The job search can be a challenging and time-consuming endeavor, but it’s important to stay positive and maintain your momentum. Continue applying for positions that align with your skills, interests, and career goals, and be open to exploring new industries or roles that you may not have considered previously. Stay engaged with your professional network, attend job fairs or industry events, and consider working with a career coach or mentor for guidance and support.


In conclusion, while it’s soul-destroying to find out the job isn’t yours so early into the interview, you must remain positive and not give up on your search for a new job. It isn’t over until it’s over!

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