Most times, the interview will go fine, but this time it just isn’t. We’re about 5 minutes in, and this person just is a no-hire. Flat. Logically you could end the interview there, and review how they got to the interview stage (a useful exercise in candidate pipeline improvement), but you’ve got 30 minutes, they’ve given up their time, you have, too, let’s try to make it good. I sought some advice from a mentor when this happened to me for the first time, as I was quite baffled by the experience. My mentor said to try to have the candidate leave having learnt something and feeling good. Lower the intensity of the questions, perhaps focus more on what they have done. Change approach and change it up. You might even see a different angle which a hire could become possible again. Ideally, you want the candidate to leave happy, but aware that it wasn’t a good fit. Don’t forget that just because you don’t hire them, doesn’t mean they’re a totally useless human being and they’re unhireable. They’ll find something somewhere else. It’s also not totally unusual to refer them onto your network. I like to think we're all nice people who can help each other out when job hunting.
Heads up: As with any terse bit of advice, there will be exceptions of course, and subtleties and nuance that can't possibly be captured in a Byte of Wisdom. This has been what I've experienced, I'd love to hear yours in the comments too!
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