Skip to main content area Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to search Skip to section navigation

Interviews That Don’t Go Well

First, recognize that interviewing is at its essence an interaction between two or more human beings. That means it can be delightful, or it can be simply awful, or somewhere in between.

When an interview goes badly, it could be for a variety of reasons:

  • the organization and you will not be a good match for one another
  • the interviewer was inexperienced and untrained, and did not know how to run a constructive interview
  • the interviewer did not maintain an evaluative mode and injected his or her predictions or prejudices into the interview
  • the interviewer was dead tired, totally distracted by work or personal responsibilities, or otherwise simply unable to “be there”
  • YOU were dead tired, totally distracted by school or personal responsibilities, or otherwise unable to “be there”
  • you were unprepared and found yourself caught off guard by questions that were asked of you
  • the room was too hot, too cold, too dark, etc., etc., etc.

First thing to do when you feel you’ve had an interview that wasn’t as successful as you wanted it to be is to try to objectively consider where the uncomfortable spaces were or what went wrong. We can help you identify if, in fact, the interview might indicate that you and this particular employer are not suited for each other due to basic differences in approach to work (or life!) or if in fact this was simply an interview that didn’t work as well as it might have.

We can help you plan a strategy for staying in touch with an employer and expressing continuing interest if in fact that is what you want.

When an interview is simply odd, or the person has made you uncomfortable in any way, shape, or form, we want to know about it immediately. If an interviewer asks you a question that you find objectionable, talk to us about it. We can help you sort through what was said. And, if you are interested, we can work with you to educate employers about the perceptions they are creating in their interviews.

Additionally, all students should be aware of our Non-Discrimination Policy, which follows:

The University of Pennsylvania and its Law School do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam Era Veteran or disabled veteran. Employers utilizing our Career Planning facilities will be held to the same standard of non- discrimination. Any claims of discrimination brought against recruiting employers will be referred to the Faculty/Student Career Planning and Professionalism Committee.

If, in your view, an employer has violated this policy, you can file a complaint in CP&P. Complaint forms are always available on the rack in CP&P; the full policy and procedure statement can be found on the Policies and Procedures page.