Most people walk out of a job interview feeling one of two ways: like they definitely nailed it, or like they completely bombed.
They spend the next few hours (or days, or weeks) over-thinking every response they have and ever gesture they made — wondering how hiring manager felt about them.
But things don’t have to be a complete mystery in the time between when you walk out of the interview and when hear whether or not you got the job.
According to career experts, there are some telltale signs to look for in the interview and in the days following that can help you figure out whether a job offer is coming your way.
Here are eight signs to look out for that don’t necessarily guarantee a job offer is in the cards, but are pretty promising:
1. Your interviewer appears to be enjoying the conversation.
When the interviewer is listening to you intently — and seems genuinely interested in what you have to say — that’s a good indication you’re on the right track.
To figure out whether they’re enjoying the conversation, pay careful attention to the interviewer’s body language.
“Actions speak louder than words,” says Debra DelBelso, director of the Career Center at Siena College. It’s always a good sign when the interviewer smiles, maintains eye contact, and leans in toward you while you speak, she explains.
Matthew Randall, executive director of the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania, says one good way to decide if the interviewer is being genuine or just polite is to pay close attention to their grin.
“Any professional will likely conduct him or herself with good decorum regardless of what they think of you,” he says. “To try to determine if the smile is authentic, ‘Duchenne’ smiles include the narrowing or partial closure of the eyes and accentuated crows feet around the eyes.”
2. Your interviewer shows you around the office before you leave.
If the hiring manager takes the extra time to give you a tour of the office or introduces you to employees before you head out, that could mean they’re thinking about offering you the role.
“Most interviewers will give you an idea of what the schedule will look like ahead of time,” says Amber Cloke, assistant director of the Career Center at Mansfield University. “If, at the end of the interview, the employer unexpectedly offers to introduce you to the rest of the team, it could bode well for you.”
3. The interview runs over the designated time.
If the interview runs over the scheduled time slot, the employer clearly wants to continue getting to know you a little better, Cloke says. “You’ve likely already passed the initial criteria they were seeking, and the fact that they continue investing more time and energy toward you can be promising.”
4. The interviewer tries to sell you on the company.
As the candidate, it’s expected that you will spend a lot of the interview talking about yourself and your expertise, in an attempt to persuade to the interviewer that you’re the right fit for the position. But if the interviewer makes a conscious effort to talk up the company, that’s a great sign they’re impressed with you and trying to sway you towards the position.
“You may be able to tell that your interview has gone well by how much the recruiter ‘sells’ the role and/or the organisation,” says Dale Austin, director of the Career Development Center at Hope College. “If the recruiter spends a lot of time doing the talking, that may be one indicator that the organisation is very interested in your candidacy.”
5. The interviewer talks a lot about perks, benefits, policies, and pay.
This may be part of their “sales tactic.” If and when an interviewer starts discussing company policies and benefits — and even gets into a serious discussion about pay — there’s a good chance they’re planning to make an offer. They most likely wouldn’t waste their time voluntarily sharing all this information if they weren’t interested in you.
6. The follow-up process is pointedly discussed.
At the close of the interview, if the recruiter or hiring manager enthusiastically brings up the next step in the hiring process without you even asking, then it’s a clear indicator you’re still in the running for the open role. (Unless, of course, it’s just a generic: “We’ll be in touch soon.”)
“If an interviewer is interested in a candidate, they may even ask when you’d like to or need to have their decision by,” said Kevin Hewerdine, director of Career Services and Employer Relations at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. “They won’t let you leave without knowing what your timeline looks like.”
7. The interviewer asks if you could send them a list of references.
If, on your way out, they say something along the lines of, “We’d like you to email us a list of three professional references with their contact information as soon as possible,” you should feel pretty excited. Most hiring managers don’t ask for references until they plan on contacting them…which they usually only do if they’re seriously considering a candidate.
8. There’s a lingering goodbye.
OK, maybe the hiring manager is just super talkative — but if they continue asking questions or selling you on the company as you’re saying your goodbyes, you probably made a great impression.
“If the interviewer seems to ‘linger’ as they walk with you toward the main lobby or escort you out the door, see if they attempt to chat a bit more to keep the conversation going,” Randall says. “Typically, interviewers unconsciously do this because they feel comfortable with you being a strong candidate and know that, since this relationship may continue in the future, they want to spend a few more moments to strengthen their professional rapport.”
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