How do you know if a job interview went well? What’s the best way to tell if you have a good chance of being invited to a second interview, or better yet, an offer of employment? Sometimes, it’s a gut feeling. Other times, it’s not so clear. However, there are signs to look for that will help you determine if your interview was successful. There are many variables, so it is important to consider more than one thing to get a complete and accurate impression of your experience.
For example, if you are interviewing for a large, corporation, the level of personal engagement you experience during the interview process may be significantly less than if you were applying with a start-up company, but that doesn’t mean those dry interactions imply you won't get the job. If your interviewer herself isn’t a warm and fuzzy person, her mannerisms may not reflect your likelihood of getting the job—and same goes if she is an especially nice person.
Make sure you consider the big picture rather than reading too much into the little details. Remember, trust your gut, but be fair to (and aware of) yourself. If you’re the type who constantly doubts yourself, and you think you blew the interview, your judgment may not be accurate. Try to be as objective as possible when considering your interview performance. Review the experience without engaging in too much emotion.
If the interview didn't go well, it could be a sign that this isn't the right job for you. Then, review these signs that will indicate if you did a good job on the interview. If you didn’t do as well as you expected, consider it a learning experience and practice for the next time around.
1. You're Asked About Your Interest in the Job
Did the interview ask you what you thought about the job and the company? It’s a good sign if your interviewer asks you questions about your interest in the job or where else you are interviewing. If she or he wasn’t interested in hiring you, your desire for the job—or interest in other companies—wouldn’t matter. Inquiries about your interest suggest the interviewer is considering whether or not you would accept a job offer.
2. Getting Specific About the Job Responsibilities
Did your interviewer dive into the specifics of the job and the daily responsibilities of the individual in that role? For an interviewer to take the time to get into the nitty-gritty can mean he or she felt confident enough about your capabilities to take the conversation to that level.
Bonus points if the interviewer referred to “you” in the role; for example: “You would be reporting to Martha, the digital marketing manager, each day.” If the hiring manager is talking this way, it means he or she can foresee you in the role.
3. Your Interviewer Gives Positive Affirmation
If the interviewer provides positive feedback during the interview, you're on the right track. This can be an obvious but tell-tale sign of a successful interview. Listen to how your interviewer responds when you answer questions.
Positive responses like, “That’s exactly right,” “Great answer,” or “Yes, that’s just what we’re looking for” are key indications that an interviewer likes you and will give your application further consideration.
4. You Get an Invitation for a Second Interview
With this one, it's easy to tell if the interview was a success. Getting asked to come in for a second interview is the best sign that your first one went well! Remember, though, don’t let the news get to your head, as there is a good chance other candidates are also coming in for round two.
Embrace your confidence, but definitely don’t dismiss the need to prepare for a second interview just because you think you have the job in the bag.
5. Your Interviewer Sells You the Job
If the interviewer spends some time promoting the highlights of the position, the company culture, and why he or she loves working there, this is a good sign. Your interviewer probably wouldn’t try to “sell” you the job if he or she had zero intentions of considering you for the position.
Another good sign is when an interviewer asks when you could start work if you were hired. Wanting to get an idea about when you can start is a good indicator that you're in contention for the job.
6. The Interview Runs Longer Than 30 Minutes
Did the interviewer spend time asking quality questions, listening to your answers, and discussing the details of position with you? If you felt like you came away with a thorough idea of the position and your interview lasted for 30 minutes or more, consider it a good possibility that the interviewer was interested in hiring you.
However, in a case where there are multiple interviewers, however, one of them may feel the need to ask questions just to ask them in order to make it seem like they’re doing their job. So, bonus points if it’s just you and a single interviewer and the discussion still carried on for a significant amount of time.
7. Exchange of Contact Information
It is excellent news if your interviewer gives you a business card, or some direct line to reach him or her, like an email or even a cell phone number. Even better if he or she encourages you to reach out anytime if you have questions or concerns!
8. You're Introduced to Staff
Consider it positive news if your interviewer toured you around the office and introduced you to staff. It’s even better if he or she brought other staff members in during your interview for personal introductions and work-related discussions.
9. The Interviewer Responds to Your Follow-up
Once you’ve sent your thank you note expressing your gratitude for the interview opportunity, gauge how long it takes your interviewer or human resources contact to respond. A prompt response can be good news, but also keep an eye out for the tone of the message.
A message like, “Thank you for coming in to meet with us! We very much appreciate it and look forward to following up with you later this week. Have a great day!” bodes much better than something short and dry like, “You are welcome, and thank you. Speak soon.”
10. Salary Comes Up
Most interviewers won’t get into the (sometimes awkward) discussion of money unless they’re serious about hiring you. Interview questions about your current salary, past salary, and what salary you are expecting to receive can be good signs that they are seriously considering you for the job.