Should You Feel Obligated to Stay If the Interview Is Terrible

Noel McDavid
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Not all job interviews go well. The employer may come off unethical for one reason or another, or the position just may not be your cup of tea. You may think the job posting sounded better on paper than it does in person. There are many reasons you may want to leave and most of them are generally acceptable. Let’s take a closer look at some different scenarios that may help you decide whether or not you want to tough it out or go home.


1. Consider if You are Financially Stable Enough to Leave

Is the interview going so badly it’s worth sacrificing potential income? Or are you financially secure enough to hop on out of there and grab an early lunch? If you already have a decent job and are financially secure, then not much is pressuring you to stay. If you’re financially insecure, you may want to stick it out if the interview is only slightly uncomfortable.


2. If the Interview Covers Unfamiliar Content, Feel Free to opt Out

Some job postings may be misleading. It is also possible that the job may require more experience than you have. If that’s the case, you were mistakenly not weeded out during the application and screening process. It is okay to leave an interview like this. No one will be offended. The employer probably does not want to waste your time any more than you want to waste theirs.


3. If the Employer is Abusive, You Should Leave

Some interviewers may be disrespectful. This is not typical, but it’s still a possibility. There are shocking stories of employers demanding to look inside a candidate’s purse, all the way to using interviewees for free labor. If these sorts of issues come up at your interview, treat them as red flags. This is likely not a company you’d want to work for. A company that regards an employee’s well-being will make them feel welcome and respected.


4. Be Polite if You Do Decide to Leave Early

You may be frustrated. That’s okay, but it isn’t good to let the employer know that you’re upset. It doesn’t look bad on you if you leave an interview early, but it doesn’t look great if you misdirect your anger. Always be kind. You shouldn’t feel obligated to stay, but if you leave, you should be respectful about it. 


It may feel rude or disrespectful to leave an interview early, but these are a few logical and acceptable reasons to do so. It is also important to note that interviewers have the right to cut the interview short if they don’t see any potential from their interview with you.


Additional Advice

If you want the job but worry that the employer doesn’t like you, don’t cut out too quickly. Most people are anxious during job interviews. Anxiety may make you think that the interview is going poorly on your end, but don’t let that factor alone pressure you into leaving early. You never know, maybe you’re too critical of yourself, while they’re thinking you’re the perfect candidate.


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  • Marilyn A.
    Marilyn A.

    If you feel confident that you can do the job say, “When do I start? It worked for me.

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