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What If my Interview was too short?

Many times, after an interview job-seekers usually get anxious over the short length of their interview. They tend to ask “is it a bad sign, a good sign or any sign at all”. There is no absolute way to know for sure what it really means. However, the clues below may be help in ascertaining if the short interview was bad or not.


What should the duration of the interview be?

Interviews are usually an hour at the least, and an whole day at the most. Phone interviews, on the other hand, are typically below 30 minutes. If your interview was short, don’t panic. There may be positive reasons why your interview didn’t last as long as you expected.


When is a short interview of good sign?

While short interviews aren’t the best of signs, from personal experience I know that sometimes, especially in the first round of interviews, the panel have to schedule it tightly to accommodate schedules. In this case, even the best candidates may be given a short interview.

You can tell a lot in 30 minutes, even if you have been given more than that to make a final decision. So short interviews aren’t necessarily a bad thing.


How to know if a short interview will turn out well?

Here are some clues that help you know if a short interview might still turn out well in the end:

  • What was their body language?
  • Were they smiling warmly and nodding while you answered? Was there good eye contact during the discussions?
  • Did they seem to get friendlier as the interview went on?
  • Did they spend their time telling you things about the company, as if they wanted you to like them?
  • Did the interviewer look at you more often than at his or her notes or watch?
  • Did you feel a sincere connection with the interviewer?
  • Did the interviewer seem to respond kindly?
  • Did the conversation flow well?
  • Did the interviewer say anything about scheduling a next visit?

If your answer to about six of these question is yes then there is a good chance that you’ll get chosen even though the interview was short


Clues to know if the short interview did not go well

Regardless of the reason an interview is short – fit, scheduling, etc. – there are still sometimes clues to help you figure out if it didn’t go well:

  • Did the interviewer smile less as the interview went on?
  • Did the interviewer look at his notes or watch or the interview room door a lot?
  •  Was the interviewer’s body language one of leaning back watchfully or holding himself somewhat rigidly, with eyes not connecting too often?
  • If you asked about next steps at the end, did he coolly say something like “We still have a lot of candidates. We’ll let you know.” rather than anything encouraging with a warm smile and good eye contact? (This is where your gut offers some clues when it comes to tone or any implied encouragement.)
  • Did the interviewer stop looking at you or look without any real warmth in his smile as soon as he said it was over and you began leaving?
  • Did the interviewer not mention next steps at all (or even say something encouraging about the process) if you didn’t bring it up?
  • Did the interviewer end with a cool “good luck!” with none of the good signs to back it up?

If your answer to about four of these question is yes, then the interview i think the short interview was not good enough.


How long does it take to get an interview after applying for a job?

There is no set timeline for snagging interviews, but you can read context clues in the job description. If the employer wants to fill the role quickly, expect a response within a week and a half. If you applied for a role at a large company, be patient and check in after seven to ten days.


How long does it take to get a reply after an interview?

After your interview, get ready for some good, old-fashioned patience. It can take anywhere from a few hours to months to hear back after an interview. Try to stay calm and collected. Also, don’t take it too personal. Remember that hiring processes are complex and a number of things can lengthen the timeline.


Important note

Please don’t take any potentially good sign or bad sign as the final answer to how you did in your interview. Hope for the best reply. Also, Interviewers come with a variety of backgrounds and personalities. The coolest interviewer could actually have thought you were great. And vice versa. Some people are nice to everyone, but that doesn’t mean they like everyone.

While you can use these signs to help you get a general idea of how a short (or long) interview went, the truth is you can’t really know how you did until you hear from them.

So please, keep looking no matter how much you want any one particular job. And try to keep yourself busy with things that will help keep you sane during an admittedly tough process. And lest I forget…. don’t forget your ‘thank you’ note in the comment box!


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