10 Signs You Might Not Have The Job

Have you ever interviewed for a job and something just felt “off”?  Read on to learn a few red flags that may signal you don’t have the job.


  • Columnist
    Specializes in Clinical Leadership, Staff Development, Education. Has 30 years experience.
10 Signs You Might Not Have The Job

I recently made a bold move by applying for a different job within my place of work.  The hiring director (my current boss) voiced excitement at my interest and an interview was quickly scheduled. I was confident going into the interview, but midway … something felt off.  Fast-forward three weeks, and I was not offered the position.  I was disappointed, but it felt good to dip my toes back into the job hunt game. In hindsight, there were a few red flags suggesting I wasn’t going to be extended a job offer. 

Waiting Too Long

I am ready for a change.  But, I made the mistake of putting my job hunt on hold waiting to hear back from my manager.  It’s an easy mistake to make.  Unfortunately,  you could wait weeks or even months when the decision has already been made to not hire you. Why would the hiring manager leave you dangling, even after a decision is made.  Well, there are several  possible reasons.  For example:

  • They are required to interview a set number of candidates, even if they already know who will fill the position.
  • They may be fishing for new ideas and insights by scheduling multiple interviews.

So what do the experts say? The answer is … don’t wait.  Immediately shift your focus and efforts on getting the potential job interview.

You Might Not Have The Job If ...

As the clock ticked and days passed,  I actually typed in “signs I don’t have the job” as an internet search.  I’d like to share some of the signs I discovered and what made them relatable in my situation.


The potential employer told you they had an “urgent” need to fill the position and scheduled an interview within days.  However, it seems the brakes are pumped hard after you interview.  

My experience:

I was originally told the position would need to be filled within a matter of days. Two weeks later… still no word.


You arrive at your interview, but fewer people are sitting in than you were initially told. 

My experience:

I was expecting 4 people to sit in on my interview, however, only 2 were actually present.  One of the missing interviewers was from upper management and would give the final “OK”.


The interviewers share their concerns about your background, skills or cultural fit.

My experience:

During my interview, only a limited number of questions were asked about the actual job.  I was asked several “sidebar” questions, such as

  • “Will you be able to adjust to 5 days a week vs. three 12 hour shifts?”
  • “Don’t you have a long commute?”
  • “Can you adjust to working during the day?”


The interview was cut short.

My experience:

After about 20 minutes, one of the interviewers began to awkwardly check the time repeatedly.  Even worse, she began to cut the 2nd interviewer's questions short.


The interview went great, but you’re seriously ghosted when trying to contact the hiring manager.

My experience:

My director became an apparition after the interview.  Once I was able to follow-up with her, I was given a new “deadline” for their final decision.


You're told the hiring process has slowed down because “an internal candidate has come forward”.

My experience:

After 3 weeks, my director explained how shocked she was when a person who had previously held the position reached out to her.  At that moment, all the red flags made sense.  


The interview ends and you feel like you're being rushed to leave the building.


The interview abruptly ends and the manager seems more than ready to move on to the next meeting.


Your follow-up emails go unanswered.


You’re specifically asked for references, but they are never contacted.

Hiring is a Process

It’s important to remember that the hiring process takes time and patience.  Even if you pick up on a few red flags, it doesn’t mean you are out of the game.  Here are a few tips on what you can do after the interview to stand out from the rest.

  • Send a thank-you email and outline 3 day reasons you're still interested in the job and what makes you a good fit.
  • Don’t keep asking for updates.  If you were told a decision would be made in 3 weeks and 4 weeks have passed… move on to your next potential interview.
  • When you're feeling discouraged, remind yourself that every interview is great practice for continuing your journey towards a better job.

Let’s Hear From You

Tell us about a “red flag moment” you’ve experienced as part of the hiring process.  Was the end-game worth the frustration?


18 Signs You Didn’t Get the Job After Interview, According to 11 Experts

Ten Unmistakable Signs You're Not Getting The Job

13 Telltale Signs You Didn’t Get The Job


J.Adderton has 28 years experience as a BSN, MSN and specializes in Clinical Leadership, Staff Development, Education.

168 Articles   496 Posts

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Specializes in LTC, Assisted Living, Surgical Clinic. Has 12 years experience.

This happened to me very recently.  Red flag #1: not hearing from the company for nearly three weeks after the initial interview.  (at this point, I already knew they probably weren’t interested and wasn’t hopeful, but played along anyway because I really wanted the job).  Red flag #2: job shadow scheduled nearly two weeks after that phone call.  Red flag #3: noting that the job kept getting re-posted while waiting.  Red flag #4: showing up to said job shadow and told I could observe two different employees for 15 minutes apiece, then being rushed out.   Rejection email 3 days later.  I had enthusiastic recommendations from several of the company’s own employees that I’ve been working with at my present job for years and was very confident I could handle the work.  I did everything I could think of; had answers for interview questions prepared, showed up a little early, dressed appropriately, didn’t ask about pay or benefits, kept my body language as relaxed as I could.  3 days after the job shadow, I got an email rejection.  Not gonna lie, it was pretty hurtful.



J.Adderton, BSN, MSN

168 Articles; 496 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Leadership, Staff Development, Education. Has 30 years experience.

Walkinon.... wow, they really put you through the ENTIRE process.  Why did they even put you through the shadow?

Specializes in Geriatrics, Management, Administration, Leadership. Has 44 years experience.

If applying for a nurse position with a federal agency please note that it can take from 1 up to 12 months before you hear back from their HR department. Even then once you are officially selected in can take another 60 days before you actually start your orientation process. Be patient and do not give up your present job until you have a start date. 


J.Adderton, BSN, MSN

168 Articles; 496 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Leadership, Staff Development, Education. Has 30 years experience.
11 hours ago, 2B a Nurse said:

 Be patient and do not give up your present job until you have a start date. 

Good to know.. Thanks!

Specializes in LTC, Assisted Living, Surgical Clinic. Has 12 years experience.

J.Adderton…I wish I knew.  Maybe they had to interview a certain number of candidates or something.  Just wish they’d have been straight up about it.  Frustrating with no feedback to know what I’d done wrong.  But the job hunt carries on.

Leonardo Del Toro, RN

3 Articles; 730 Posts

Specializes in "Wound care - geriatric care. Has 13 years experience.


You live in a country where they don't hire nurses and make nurses work for 2 so they can save money they would be paying you as a salary

Specializes in NICU. Has 40 years experience.

I went for a per diem job as my unit had been so slow and no  recent OT opportunities,

I had more than enough credentials, was asked usual what if, give examples of blah blah,then asked if I was happy at my job, I said big yes.

Then the questions became almost rude,so I got annoyed and told her that if I had known she was going to ask me that many questions I would have had more coffee this morning.Then I told her what I felt they should really look for. Buh Buh.

Specializes in Mental Health.

#1 - #100: They haven't called you and told you "Congratulations, you got the job!" Until that time, keep interviewing.

SilverBells, BSN

1,060 Posts

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 8 years experience.

A couple of others:

1. The interviewer sits with their back to you and makes no eye contact the entire time

2. The interviewer contradicts everything you've said

3. The interviewer doesn't ask you to expand on your answers even once during the interview.  They aren't interested in what you have to say.