Have you ever taken the wrong job

7 clear indications that you should stop an interview immediately

Have you received an invitation to an interview, but suddenly feel like you are in the wrong film? Sometimes life doesn't go as expected at all. And then you have the right to leave an unpleasant situation. Very few applicants dare to end an interview prematurely. But today we're not just telling you how to leave early, but above all when.

Doing your job interview time: a question of courtesy?

Do you know this situation: You have applied for a job and are already thinking of your new dream job, the nice colleagues and the beautiful office space. But as soon as you step into the building on your way to get to know each other personally, you will feel:

“I'm not right here. Actually, I shouldn't have to hold the interview any more. I can't imagine taking up this position anyway. "

Sometimes it may take a little longer to be sure that this job is not right for you. You may have a bad gut feeling when you get to know your future colleagues or the HR manager asks outrageous questions during the interview. Most applicants nevertheless use the strategy of sitting out the interview until the end as a matter of courtesy.

"Politeness: the most pleasant form of hypocrisy."
(Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce)

Courtesy with all due respect, but sometimes it is better to leave an interview early. Still, that doesn't mean you need to act rude. You can also end an interview prematurely in a polite way.

When you can - and should - cancel an interview!

In principle, you can of course cancel an interview at any time. You can skip the appointment, say “Goodbye” to the HR manager when you say hello, or leave the room after five minutes. However, that would not only be impolite, it would even be disrespectful. And since employers and HR managers also exchange ideas or change companies every now and then, you never know whether you will meet again at some point or in which circles you will permanently damage your reputation. A faux pas on your part can turn into a serious setback for your career.

Breaking off an interview should therefore be well thought out. If in doubt, you better stay.

However, you do not have to accept any disrespect the other way around. You have the right to set boundaries and to say “no” to a job - or an interview. Seven pointers that you should rather pack your things and leave right away are, for example:

Note # 1: The working conditions are unreasonable

It may well be that you enter the office and feel uncomfortable or that the potential new colleagues appear unsympathetic at first glance. You shouldn't ignore this gut feeling, but your impression can change at second glance. So give the interview the chance to revise your opinion. Unless you notice safety risks in your "future" workplace, see your health in danger or even a violation of the law.

Total (men and women)16,7%
Men overall19,5%
18 to 29 years15,8%
Lower education group13,1%
Medium education group17,8%
Upper education group10,9%
30 to 44 years23,4%
Lower education group25,9%
Medium education group28%
Upper education group15,5%
45 to 64 years19,2%
Lower education group25,6%
Medium education group21%
Upper education group14,5%

All further information on statistics can be found on Statista

This could be a lack of safety equipment, discriminatory behavior or the freezing cold in the office. Such violations may even have to be reported. Then, of course, it's time to get out of here!

Note # 2: The job has already been taken elsewhere

Perhaps you already know from a reliable source - or learn from an interview - that the job is actually already taken. Then of course you don't have to sacrifice your valuable time and energy for a tender that doesn't (or no longer) exists. Still, a good interview can be a recommendation for you as a worker. If you make a good impression, the employer may come straight to you the next time as soon as a suitable position becomes available, or you have a better chance of applying for another job at the company. So if you are comfortable and would like to work here, this can also be a good reason to stay anyway. A "no" is not always final!

Reading tip:Learn to say no: set limits without violating them

Note # 3: The job advertisement was too unrealistic

In terms of employer branding, job advertisements are a little embellished by many companies. Hand on heart: You certainly did that when you applied. But if description and reality are too far apart, this can be a reason for you to abandon the interview. Feel free to check back in more detail if the job description, working hours or other information suddenly deviates from those in the job advertisement. If you come to the conclusion that the vacant position does not suit you as well as you thought, you can be honest.

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Note # 4: The HR manager looks disinterested

If the question "What am I doing here?" Keeps coming back to your mind during the interview, you should also consider breaking off. Understand that the HR manager is under time pressure and has perhaps already had 20 other conversations behind him. But if he is not prepared at all, has apparently never read your application and obviously no interest in you either, you don't have to waste your time. If there is no appreciation when you first get to know each other, it often doesn't get any better in the later job. After all, you are human, not “Applicant No. 123” - and deserve the appropriate respect.

Note # 5: Your questions will not be answered (satisfactorily)

The same applies if the person you are talking to cannot give you any satisfactory answers to your questions about the advertised position. Then he is either poorly informed not only about you, but also about your position, or he deliberately lets your concerns slip under the table. How so? Because you wouldn't like the answer! You are welcome to make a second or third attempt. But if you still don't get a reaction, it is probably not an accident, but a conscious strategy. So if your gut feeling says "Something is wrong here", you are probably right!

Reading tip: "9 cases in which a job refusal ultimately turns out to be a stroke of luck"

Note # 6: You do not like the person you are talking to

If you do not like your interlocutor because of this or for any other reason, you can also cancel the interview. However, you should first re-examine

  1. why you do not like your counterpart and
  2. whether that would be relevant for your future employment at all.

Check what it is that bothers you about the person you are talking to. Does he remind you of your alcoholic father? Does the HR manager look like your ex-girlfriend who broke your heart? These are certainly not justified reasons to judge a person prematurely. If, on the other hand, he shows disinterest, arrogance, inappropriate behavior or you judge him to be dishonest, choleric or narcissistic, these could be arguments for breaking off the interview.

Reading tip: "Cabinet of horrors in the office: is your boss a psychopath?"

But even then there is still the question in the room: If you were hired, would you even work with the other person? If it is your line manager or a teammate, this could actually lead to a conflict. On the other hand, you will rarely see a recruiter who only conducts the interview and then does the paperwork - if at all. You will survive. After all, there are difficult people everywhere!

Note # 7: The recruiter asks unauthorized questions

Some interviews are casual and almost amicable. In others, the HR manager puts you under pressure to test your behavior in stressful situations. One or the other nasty question is then simply part of the job interview. But if the stress interview becomes too "stressful" for you, in other words too outrageous, or if the HR manager keeps asking unauthorized questions - despite you rejecting them - that is a good reason to leave.

Reading tip: "Inadmissible questions in the job interview - do lies really have short legs?"

How can you "politely" break off an interview?

Depending on what your reason for abandoning the interview is, so should your approach. If the HR manager is too unprepared, but you are still interested in the position, you can, for example, ask for a second appointment. Say:

“Thank you for your effort, but I have the feeling that you cannot give me all the important information on my questions at the moment. So would it be possible to make a new appointment? This gives you the opportunity to find out more information or to call in a third person, for example my future manager or a team colleague. "

If outrageous or forbidden questions move you to leave - whereupon you will certainly no longer want to work for this company in the future - your exit can also be a little brisk.

“I would like to thank you for talking to us. However, your questions in the past few minutes have made it clear to me that we will unfortunately not be able to find a job. I therefore ask for your understanding that I will now end our meeting. "

All in all, as mentioned earlier, you should still be polite. At least for the sake of your reputation.

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If you want to cancel an interview, please proceed as follows:

  • Do not interrupt your conversation partner, but wait until you have the floor.
  • Always start your sentence afterwards by saying thank you for the conversation, the effort or the time of the other person.
  • Make it clear that you want to leave the interview.
  • Then give a brief explanation of the reasons for this decision. The less your interlocutor can understand your wish, the more impolite you appear.
  • Make sure you stay constructive and never get personal.
  • If the HR manager asks again for feedback on why you are ending the conversation, please give it to him. Maybe he can learn from it for his professional future. On the other hand, if he wants to stop you or if he gets angry, say goodbye undeterred.
  • Thank you again, shake hands with the other party, and leave the room.
  • Behave professionally until you have left company premises and are out of sight. You can still breathe in tantrums or crying fits in the car or at home.

Unfortunately, your interlocutors will not always approach you with the same courtesy that you (hopefully) display when breaking off the interview. Provocations like “What can you think of?” Or “Do you think we like to waste our time and energy on applicants like you?” Occur every now and then. Make sure to stay calm even if you are mad inside. Never allow yourself to be justified or blamed. So don't answer with phrases like

“It's your own fault if you ask such outrageous questions. Better to touch your own nose. "


“If you don't do your homework and appear here unprepared, it's probably not my fault. I find that very unprofessional! "

As the saying goes: Arguing always takes two. So stay calm and behave in a professional, mature, and polite manner. For example, answer:

“I think it's a shame that you don't understand my decision. It is by no means meant personally. I think it's fairest for everyone involved when we put the cards face up on the table. So I will now say goodbye. Of course, I wish you and the company all the best and thank you once again for the chance to introduce myself to you personally, even if it didn't work out. "

Reading tip: "Cancel or postpone the interview? That's how it's done"

What do you think? In your opinion, is it an absolute no-go to end an interview early? Or have you already broken off an interview yourself, and if so, how? We look forward to your opinion on the topic in the comments!

Photo credit: iStock.com/Lacheev


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