Interviews take a lot of resources to conduct. So if an interview clearly isn't going to go anywhere, interviewers might be wondering if they can end the interview early. This could save a lot of time and avoid leading on a candidate that doesn't stand a chance in the role.
However, it's important to have clear criteria for what is and what isn't a suitable reason to end an interview early. Some candidates need a little time to get comfortable in an interview, so calling it quits early could lead you to miss out on some talented but introverted candidates.
Can you end an interview early?
When interviewing candidates, you may come across a candidate who is clearly not a good fit for the position. In this situation, it is perfectly acceptable to end the interview early. It is important to be respectful of the candidate's time, but there is no need to continue an interview when it is clear that the person is not right for the job.
Here are some of the reasons that could lead you to end an interview early:
If the candidate has lied on their application. If you suspect that a candidate has lied about their skills or experience, then you would be within your rights to end the interview early. There is no sense in wasting any further time.
If the candidate is not qualified for the position. If a candidate does not have the necessary qualifications for the job, then there is no point in continuing the interview.
If the candidate is behaving inappropriately. This would be a rare occurrence, but if a candidate was to behave inappropriately during an interview (for example, by being rude or aggressive), then you could end the interview early.
If the candidate is clearly not a good fit. If it becomes apparent that the candidate is not a good fit for the role, either in terms of their skill set or their personality, then it would be a good idea to end the interview early. If you have a very specific idea of the type of candidate you'd like to hire, then you might be quick to rule people out.
If you have already made a decision about the candidate and there is no need to continue the interview. You may have recently interviewed the ideal candidate and have made a decision about the role. In this case, it would be fairer not to waste the candidate's time.
If the candidate doesn't want to continue. Remember that interviews work both ways. The candidate might also decide that the role isn't what they were expecting.
How to end an interview early
If you have decided that you need to end an interview early, there are certain ways to go about doing this
It is important to be respectful and avoid any type of confrontation. After all, the candidate has likely spent a lot of time preparing for the interview and they might be offended if you tell them that you are cutting it short.
Here are some tips on how to end an interview early:
Once you realise you'd like to end the interview, thank the candidate for their time. Reassure them that you appreciate them coming in and say that you have enjoyed meeting them.
Ask if they have any questions for you. While you might have decided they aren't the right fit for the job, you should still give them a chance to participate.
Offer feedback where appropriate. If you feel like it would be helpful, you could offer the candidate some feedback on their performance. For example, you might say that they have impressed you with their knowledge of the company
Let the candidate know that you will be in touch. Thank them again for their time and let them know that you will contact them about the next steps.
You can then follow up in the normal time frame to let them know that they have been unsuccessful in their application. This method will protect your company's reputation, and avoid offending the candidate. It will also ensure that you still maintain a good relationship with them, as they might be a great fit for another role in the future.
Remember, ending an interview early is perfectly acceptable if the candidate is clearly not a good fit for the position. Just make sure you do this in a way that is professional and courteous.