Everyone has a ridiculous job interview experience to share. The latest one involved an interviewer who couldn't wait another minute for a cigarette, so she took the candidate outside so she could smoke during the interview—except the interview never really happened because she never asked any job-related questions.
I've been to a couple of interviews where I knew the job wasn't going to work out the moment I sat down in the office. And it wasn't because I knew they wouldn't hire me,
but because I knew I didn't want to work for them. One was simply due to the condition of the office (messy and dirty), while the other was due to the questions I was asked (completely by-the-book, no creativity or personality included).
What I really wanted to do was end the interview early and get back to finding a job I might actually like. But is that right? If you're faced with an interview for a job you realize you don't really want, can you excuse yourself and leave early? While every career adviser might have a different opinion, here's mine:
Yes! You can ditch early, especially if you've taken time off from your current job and the interview is doing nothing more than wasting your time.
We all have impressions of what a job is going to be like based on the description and our contact with the hiring manager. But if the office, interviewer, or interview itself doesn't live up to that impression, you have every right to dismiss yourself. But you have to do it politely.
There's no right moment to exit an interview early, but you can work a dismissal into the process. Once you know the job isn't for you, wait for the next question, pause, and politely explain how you don't feel the job is the right fit for you, and you'd like to not take any more of their time by continuing. They might ask why you've had a change in interest, and you can go ahead and explain your reasons.
As long as you excuse yourself politely, there should be no hard feelings or bad blood between you and the company. Just be 110% sure you never want to work there, or they may not take you seriously again in the future.
Employers are allowed to cut interviews short if they don't think you're going to work out, and you should have the same right. Your time is valuable, too. There's no reason to sit through an hour of horrible questions (or someone's cigarette break) once you've figured out there's no way in hell you'd ever accept a job offer from them. Cut your losses and head for the door.
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