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ASK HR: Why didn’t the interviewing panel ask me ‘real’ questions?

Friday October 12 2018

The interviewing panel didn’t ask me any serious questions. Should that send any signal?

The interviewing panel didn’t ask me any serious questions. Should that send any signal? PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Q. I recently attended an interview and to be honest, I was quite dismayed. The interviewing panel didn’t ask me any serious questions such as my strengths, what makes me stand out etc. At the end, they didn’t even ask if I had a question for them. Should that send any signal? What could it be?

Every candidate walks in to an interview with some level of excitement and expectation. Many prepare well in advance, researching as much information as possible on the company, the role and its benefits, the management and sometimes the interview panel.

Most of the times such good preparation pays off. At other times, candidates leave the interview with mixed feelings, wondering if they over prepared or did not impress the interviewers at all.

Before you feel dismayed, just know that some interviewers may not ask all questions advised by recruiters or in the internet.

Every organisation will have its own unique way of ensuring they pick the best, but such process should be world class, not mediocre as you describe.

It is important to read the mood on the room when you walk into the interview.


You should feel welcome, good vibes and right energy, and if unlucky you are likely to meet stern faces looking bored with ‘let’s get on with it’ attitude written over their faces.

If you find the latter run and do not look back. It is a sign of a negative energy that reflects the culture of the organisation.

It is also easy to make a quick assessment of how you interviewed from the body language of the interviewers, giving you a good idea on what kind of feedback to eventually expect.

If the panel is engaged throughout, listening keenly to your answers and politely asking follow up questions, it is a good sign that you may progress to the next level.

If they show less interest and deliberately run out of questions, this is not a good sign and you are likely to receive a regret.

The process you describe falls in this category and since you too felt the disconnect, do not get your hopes high.

I feel compelled though to speak to interviewers and remind them of the importance of making the right impression with all candidates.

First because these are not only potential employees but also customers and it is important for them to feel some connection to the company and what it stands for.

I have seen interview panels that lose interest in other candidates because a previous one impressed them most, and just need to observe a formality by speaking to all scheduled candidates.

This is the most serious injustice a panel can do to a candidate, and the company does not only risk losing a good candidate but also a potential customer.


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