Let’s talk about when it is OK to leave a job interview early (and how to do it).
Interviews are an opportunity for both the company and the candidate to assess whether they are a match for each other.
It’s a bit like a first date.
Both parties ask questions and get to know one another. The employer is deciding if the applicant has the skills and experience required for the role, and the candidate is deciding if the role aligns with their career objectives and expectations.
But, just like a first date, interviews don’t always go as well as you would hope. Sometimes you cannot wait to get out. You may have sat in an interview knowing, even if you are offered the role, you aren’t going to take it. So, you sit there politely, desperately hoping that there aren’t too many more questions.
There are many reasons why ending an interview early might be appropriate. And yes, it can be done respectfully, ensuring your professionalism is not compromised in any way.
When is it OK to leave a mining job interview early?
Here are four good reasons to leave an interview early.
You just know you could not work with them
The reality is in an industry with a low number of employees, like mining, there are people you would rather not work with. It may be their management style is one you could not work under, or their reputation is one you don’t want to be associated with. Completing an interview with someone you know you could not work with is a waste of everyone’s time.
If the interviewer is running late and you are left waiting without explanation, it’s OK to end things early. Waiting more than half an hour is unacceptable. There are occasions when people are late for an appointment; however, first impressions matter. If you are still waiting 30 minutes after the scheduled time, advise reception you will need to leave. Send a follow-up email to provide an alternate time (if you want to still be considered for the role), or just apply to the next role you see advertised.
Interviewer is out of line
If you’re asked inappropriate questions during the interview, it’s OK to leave. Lewd, suggestive comments, discriminatory questions or intimidating behaviour are definitely not on. While it is hard to imagine this happening, occasionally I hear stories from people who have been interviewed by hiring managers whom I can only describe as “creeps”. In this situation, leaving immediately is your best (and for me, personally) the only option.
But that’s not the only way an interviewer could be out of line. If you’re asked questions about your current employer that seem to be more about the interviewer gaining information than finding out about you, that’s not OK either. This does happen, particularly in the research, technology and innovation space. An interview is not an information-gathering exercise for the interviewers, and limiting the answers you provide is the best course of action.
If the interviewer is rude, or distracted with other issues external to the interview, that’s not OK. There is no excuse for this type of behaviour and if an interviewer is rude, or cannot give you their full attention, will it change when you’re working there?
In each of these examples, leaving at the first available opportunity is appropriate.
FURTHER READING: Questions you cannot be asked in job interviews
The job isn’t as described
If the conditions are not as described in either a preliminary interview, or as advertised, then it’s OK to leave. It could be the equal time roster role is now a two week on, one week off rotation, or the job title is different. Errors in advertising do happen but should be explained as a matter of urgency.
What if you’re being interviewed for a job that you didn’t apply for? As incredible as this sounds, this does happen. Candidates can be contacted for an interview and assume it is a role they have applied for, but in the interview the job description, the roster, the terms, and the site are all different. Companies can assume your interest extends to all their operations, when in reality, you may be interested in a specific location or mining job.
It could be that your recruiter has misrepresented you, or not given you all the details on the role, and you turn up to the interview only to find out the role is one that is not of interest. It’s OK to explain this and leave the interview.
If you’re going to leave an interview early, here’s what to do
That uncomfortable feeling you’re getting about the job is not likely to go away. Trusting your instincts and having the courage to leave in a professional manner is your best course of action. Sometimes it is an instinctual or ‘gut’ feeling, but whatever it is, if you’re not connecting in an interview with someone, then it is unlikely you will connect with them in a working environment.
Once you have recognised that continuing the interview is wasting everyone’s time, then your next course of action is finding an appropriate moment to end the interview. Here’s what to do:
- Wait for a pause in the discussion
- Say thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed but, “I don’t feel this opportunity is going to work for me”
- Stand up, shake everyone’s hand, and politely leave
- If you have been represented by a recruiter, or if you have been liaising with a person from HR, connect with them as soon as possible to explain why you left the interview early.
Do you get interviewed but miss out on the job?
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