When you are being interviewed by a company for a job, you are not the only one who needs to be answering questions. You are also interviewing the company to see if you want to work there and make that company your career "home." Knowing when to leave an interview does not have to be difficult. It can be made simple by following a few simple tips.
First, make a list of things you want to find out about the company. This list should be important enough to include deal breakers that would turn you away from seeking employment there. Such items might include health benefits, vacation days, flex time to be able to get to your child's playoff games. Whatever makes this job worth spending most of your time there instead of with the people you love.
Next, observe the personality or personalities of the people who are interviewing you. Can you work with this type of person? Will they be working closely with you? Or will you be working more closely with others? Of the many things that make up a job, personalities and social behaviors in the office are a key to whether or not this job will be a good fit for you. If it is not, then it is time to leave the interview and save both you and your interviewer's time and effort. If the personalities are a good fit, and a majority of the things you require out of a company are included, then proceed with the interview.
If the interviewer shows a condescending attitude toward you, or plays mental "games" during the course of the interview, unless you are applying to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, this would be a good time to excuse yourself from the interview. People who belittle others in an interview to see how they will work under pressure do not do justice to their company. It leaves a bad taste in the mouths of the person being interviewed and ultimately, you should leave.
However, if you are stumbling though every question the interviewer is asking, and you see that you are not qualified for the position they are looking to fill this would be a good time to cut the interview short. On the other hand, if you feel you are extremely overqualified you should ask if there is room for advancement in the position. Often there are lower positions available and getting that first step in could lead to a better, higher paying position. If you are overqualified and there is no room for advancement, this is another point where you could be wasting your time.
Knowing when to leave an interview is sometimes tricky. If you stick to your convictions about what you are looking for in a career, then the point where you should leave will become quite clear. If you do leave an interview, thank them for their time and let them know that their position is not a fit for you at this time. Leave with a firm handshake and a smile. The next time a position comes available with that company that is a better fit, your courtesy will be remembered.