5 Danger Signs Your Job Interview Is In Trouble

Last Updated May 9, 2010 11:19 PM EDT

Do you know how to "read" an interview?

Bob Dylan told us that it doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Likewise, it doesn't take a career planning expert to tell you when your job interview is on life support. Here are some clues to tell you that you might be in trouble:

You're not absolutely sure how to get there. This can torpedo your interview before it even starts. How are you getting to the interview? GPS? Google Maps? Directions the hiring manager sent you? Be sure you verify the directions with a "second source" and add lots of buffer time so you don't arrive late. Are you there really early? Sit in the car if you have to, but don't show up an hour early and become a nuisance to the recruiter or hiring manager

You take a call on your cell phone during the interview. Really? You worked this hard to get an interview, and you take a call for any reason other than your mom is in the delivery room having another baby? Even looking at a ringng cell phone is an automatic deal killer for most any hiring manager.

Your interviewer takes a call. Run, don't walk, to the nearest exit. There's something horrifically out of whack with this company's priorities. Nothing is worth this job, trust me.

You bad-mouth your last boss or company. Be prepared for "why did you leave your last job," questions and have a better answer prepared than a tirade about how poor your last manager was. Even if it's true, this is a serious danger flag to a potential employer, because it paints you as someone who has poor inter-personal skills and doesn't work well with others.

The interview feels more like a questionnaire than a conversation. Is the interviewer running down a list of questions without taking any time to explore the answers you're giving? It's probably too late, so don't invest a lot of emotional energy in this opportunity. The interviewer has probably already decided not to hire you, and is simply completing the minimum necessary work to demonstrate the interview was completed. On the other hand, it's theoretically possible to turn the interview around by really hitting one out of the park, but you'll have to try hard.