Things Interviewers Say That Lets You Know You Won’t Get an Offer

things interviewers say that lets you know you won't get an offer

Navigating the job interview process can be a nerve-wracking experience, and it’s natural for candidates to be on high alert for any clues about their chances of receiving an offer. While some interviewers maintain a poker face throughout the conversation, others may inadvertently reveal signs that a job offer is unlikely. By recognizing these subtle cues, job seekers can better understand their prospects and prepare themselves for potential outcomes.

In this article, we will discuss some of the phrases and actions that might indicate a less favorable outcome in a job interview. These include hints from the interviewer about the candidate’s suitability for the role, the level of engagement during the conversation, and possible nonverbal cues. It’s important to remember that while these signs may suggest an unfavorable outcome, they are by no means a definitive indication that a job offer is off the table.

Having this insight will help job seekers to stay focused and manage their expectations during the interview process, ultimately making them better prepared for future opportunities. By becoming aware of these potential red flags, candidates can also take the time to reflect on how they could improve their interview performance and increase their chances of success in future job applications.

Signs During the Interview

Body Language

Being aware of the interviewer’s body language is important to gauge their interest in your candidacy. For instance, if the interviewer is often looking away, crossing their arms, or leaning back in their chair, these could be signs of disinterest. Additionally, if they are fidgeting with objects or not maintaining eye contact, these might also serve as red flags.

Disinterest in Asking and Answering Questions

Engaging in a fruitful conversation requires mutual involvement from both parties. If an interviewer is not asking many questions or seems disinterested in your answers, it may be a sign that they are not considering you for the position. On the other hand, if they are unwilling to answer your questions, it might indicate they don’t consider you as a serious candidate.

Rushing Through the Process

An interview should feel like there is a balance in the time spent. If you find that the interviewer is rushing the conversation, cutting it short, or persistently looking at the clock, these might be signs that they are not genuinely interested in your application. While it is normal for interviewers to have multiple interviews scheduled per day, they should still provide adequate time for each candidate to present their qualifications and discuss the opportunity.

Verbal Indications that you won’t get the job offer

Politely Wrapped Up

Interviewers might use polite language to quickly wrap up the interview, which could indicate that they have already decided you’re not the right fit for the position. They might say things like, “Thank you for your time,” or “We appreciate your interest in our company.” It’s essential to pay attention to the tone of voice and context. If it’s done before discussing important topics or within a short time after the interview started, it could be a subtle cue.

Expressing Concerns

During the course of the interview, the interviewer might go over certain areas or ask some questions that make them raise concerns. Phrases such as “I’m not sure if your skills match our needs” or “We were looking for someone with more experience” are clear verbal indications that the interviewer might be leaning towards not making an offer. In these instances, it’s helpful to address those concerns in the moment and try to clarify any misunderstandings or nuances in your experience.

Indicating Oversaturation of Candidates

Sometimes, interviewers will mention that they have a high number of candidates for the position or a significant amount of competition. This can serve as a verbal indication that the chances of getting an offer might be slim. If you hear phrases like “We have a lot of candidates for this position” or “It’s a very competitive field,” it can potentially signal that the interviewer is not convinced that you are the right candidate. It is essential to emphasize what sets you apart from other candidates and how your unique skills or experience make you a great fit for the company.

Surprised woman at a job interview

Comparison with Other Candidates

Strong Internal Candidate Preference

It’s common for organizations to consider both external and internal candidates when hiring. If an interviewer mentions that they have a strong preference for internal candidates, this might be an indication that external candidates, like yourself, have a lower chance of getting the offer. Internal candidates often have an advantage as they are already familiar with the company culture, processes, and stakeholders.


At times, interviewers may express concern about a candidate being overqualified for the position. This might mean that they believe your experience, skills, or education level is significantly higher than what the role requires. Employers might worry that overqualified candidates would become bored, demand higher salaries, or leave for other opportunities quickly. This could be a signal that you may not be the most suitable candidate for the role.

Weaknesses Discussion

Interviewers usually discuss candidate weaknesses to assess self-awareness and potential areas for improvement. However, if the conversation focuses excessively on your weaknesses rather than your strengths, it could imply that the interviewer perceives you as a less competitive candidate. This may lead to a lower likelihood of receiving the job offer. Try to emphasize your strengths and how they align with the role to mitigate such discussions.

Post-Interview Actions

Lack of Follow-Up

It’s important to evaluate the post-interview actions taken by the interviewer. A lack of follow-up after an interview can be a sign that you may not receive an offer. Interviewers who are interested in a candidate typically maintain open communication lines to keep them informed about the status of their application. If you notice an absence of communication from the interviewer, this may be an indication that they have decided to pursue other candidates.

Not Receiving a Thank You Email

Receiving a thank you email from the interviewer after the interview demonstrates their appreciation for your time and interest in the position. However, not receiving this email might be an indication that you will not be getting an offer. It’s important to remember that interview etiquette varies from one organization to another, and not all interviewers send out thank you emails. Regardless, the absence of a thank you email can be disheartening for candidates hoping to get an offer.

Limited Communication

Another factor to consider is the extent of communication you have with the interviewer after the interview. Limited communication from them might be a sign that they are focusing their energy on other candidates or that their interest in your application has waned. If the interviewer is not engaging in conversation, responding to emails, or providing updates about the hiring process, this could be a sign that an offer may not be forthcoming.

It’s worth keeping in mind that these signs might not always be definitive indicators of not receiving a job offer. However, paying attention to the post-interview actions of the interviewer can provide some insight into your chances of being hired. Stay confident, remember your skills and value, and keep applying for positions until you find the perfect opportunity.

Out of Your Control Factors

Organization’s Background and Internal Factors

The organization’s background and internal factors may play a significant role in determining the outcome of your interview. A company might have certain financial, management, or cultural constraints that you’re not aware of, which could impact their hiring decisions.

For instance, a start-up could become more risk-averse in hiring due to tight budget constraints, while a well-established organization might hold off on hiring due to a possible merger or restructuring. Since these factors are beyond your control, it’s important not to dwell on them, but rather focus on what you can control: presenting yourself as the best candidate.

Job Advertisement Changes

Sometimes, a job advertisement can change during the hiring process. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as a shift in business strategy or a sudden need to fill a different role. As a result, the requirements and expectations for the position may evolve, affecting the relevance of your skills and experience.

For example, a company may initially require a candidate with a background in marketing, but later decide they also need someone with programming skills. In such cases, your experience may no longer match the updated job requirements, making it difficult for you to secure an offer. Keeping an eye on industry trends and continuing to upskill will help you adapt in these situations.


In the end, being able to identify the subtle cues that indicate a lack of interest from an interviewer can be vital in understanding where your job search stands. By paying close attention to the interviewer’s body language, tone of voice, and the phrasing of their questions, interviewees can gain valuable insights into their candidacy.

Although not every clue necessarily guarantees a negative outcome, it is essential to be aware of the potential signs. This knowledge can help applicants to better prepare for future interviews and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Remember to remain confident and knowledgeable during interviews, regardless of the signals you might perceive. A clear and neutral communication style can help you leave a positive impression on the interviewer and increase your chances of landing the job.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some things an interviewer says that indicate I may not get a job offer?

If the interviewer uses vague language like “We’ll be in touch,” or “We’re still interviewing other candidates,” that can be a sign you might not get an offer. Also, if they don’t talk about next steps in the process or provide clear feedback, it might be a sign they don’t plan on moving forward with your application.

What signs can I look for during a job interview to ascertain if it’s not going well?

It’s not a good sign if the interviewer seems disinterested, rushes through the interview very quickly, or doesn’t ask many questions about your background and skills. If they don’t discuss the details of the job description or next steps in the hiring process, these could be signs they don’t consider you a strong fit for the position.

If an interviewer asks about my interest in other job postings at their company, is it a good or bad sign?

This could go either way. It might mean that they don’t think you’re a fit for the current job you interviewed for, but they might think you could fit another role. Take it as an opportunity to explore other roles at the company where you might be a better fit.

What are common signs that the interviewer may not want to hire me?

Signs an interviewer may not want to hire you include not discussing next steps, giving vague responses when asked about the hiring timeline, avoiding discussing specifics of the job or company culture, or wrapping up the interview quickly.

What can I interpret from the hiring manager not sharing detailed feedback about my interview?

If a hiring manager does not share detailed feedback, it could mean many things. Possibly, they do not want to share that they have concerns about your fit for the role, they’re still assessing other candidates, or simply because it’s against company policy to provide detailed feedback.

How long should one ideally wait to hear back from the interviewer after a job interview?

This can take between a few days to a few weeks, depending on the company and the position. If you haven’t heard back within two weeks, it’s appropriate to follow up with the recruiter or hiring manager for an update.

Can I can ask the interviewer or hiring manager for feedback even if I don’t receive a job offer?

This can take between a few days to a few weeks, depending on the company and the position. If you haven’t heard back within two weeks, it’s appropriate to follow up with the recruiter or hiring manager for an update.

Can I can ask the interviewer or hiring manager for feedback even if I don’t receive a job offer?

Yes, you can absolutely ask for feedback! This can provide valuable insight into what you might need to improve for future interviews. Some companies have a policy against providing such feedback, but it’s worth asking.

Are there certain questions that interviewers ask only when not intending to grant a job offer?

There’s not a universal set of questions indicating you won’t receive a job offer. However, if they avoided asking about your skills, didn’t discuss the specifics of the role, or did not explore your previous experiences much, they might not be considering you for the role.

Do interviewers usually express direct or indirect signs to candidates about their decision?

It varies by interviewer; some might give indirect signs, like not discussing the next steps or ending the interview quickly. Others may be very direct in their communication, offering immediate feedback or openly informing that they’ll be interviewing other candidates.

If an interviewer ends the interview abruptly, is that a sign that I won’t get a job?

An abrupt end to an interview could potentially be a sign that you won’t get the job offer, especially if they cut it short without covering substantial ground in terms of your skills and experiences. However, it can also be a sign of a time constraint on the interviewer’s part. It is best to follow up post interview to be sure.

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