You have finally been invited to an interview for that ideal job with that perfect company. You arrive on time, well prepared and dressed for the role. You answer the questions just as planned and ask intelligent questions. The interview is over, and you are sitting on the bus on the way home, wondering: was it a success? How can you tell if you did really well in the interview?
Here are some signs that you made the right impression at your interview:
The interview goes longer than expected
If the interview extends into a friendly enthusiastic conversation which lasts longer than the standard one hour, consider yourself interesting enough for the interviewer to prioritize getting to know you. The opposite is true too – if an interview is unexpectedly short, it may be that the employer has decided that they are no longer interested.
The interviewer asks for your references
Employers don’t always ask for references even if they are interested in possibly hiring you. Sometimes, they will contact you for your references after the interview, and other times they don’t want to speak to references at all — calling references can be a tedious errand that sometimes doesn’t even produce useful information. So when an employer does ask for your references, it’s a clear indication that you’re in the running for the position. One tip: call your references and tell them to expect a call from the employer. Ask them to contact you after they have spoken to the reference, so you know that the call was made, and so that you can get a sense of how enthusiastic the employer seems about you.
You get invited to a second interview
Not all hiring processes have more than one interview. At the end of your interview, ask about the next step. If the employer is planning a second interview, and you get called, you are (obviously) considered a strong candidate. If the invitation to the second interview arrives quickly after the first interview ends, that is clearly a good sign, as well.
The interviewer extends the conversation beyond the duties of the job
During the interview, if the employer becomes chatty and begins talking about themselves, or veers off onto talking about social or community activities in which staff members are involved, the interviewer might be assessing whether you are a personal or cultural fit with the team. Although you should be careful, because you might get lulled into sharing unnecessary or inappropriate personal information or opinions, keep in mind that it can be a sign that the interviewer really likes you as a person, and that they can imagine you working there as part of the team. Watch the employer’s non-verbal behaviours, such as leaning toward you attentively, listening enthusiastically, smiling and making eye contact. Listen for their enthusiasm about the job, the company and the team – they might be hoping to make you more enthusiastic about the job.
The employer offers details about the next step in the hiring process
Employers who are becoming interested in hiring a candidate are more likely to offer information, without being asked, about what to expect next after the interview. They might give you a sense of whether they are planning to have a second round of interviews and with whom, when they hope to fill the position, how many other candidates are being interviewed, and what other steps are planned. Show them that you are paying careful attention to this information, to indicate to them that you are interested in the position.
You’re given a tour and/or introduced to others
If the interviewer makes a point of introducing you to team members during or after the interview, or if they make a point of showing you around the office, take it as a sign that they can envision you as part of the team. (One of my clients was even shown an office and was told “this is your office”!). Show interest – ask questions and be enthusiastic.
The employer offers information about pay and benefits
Information about pay and benefits is guarded closely by employers, and the interviewer will not want to share this information with candidates whom they are not interested in hiring. So if they offer you that information, or begin a conversation about this topic, you know that they are considering you more seriously. Don’t let this question catch you off guard – think through what salary and benefits you are interested in, and be ready to discuss this issue competently, if it comes up.
Pay attention to your feelings about how well you did in the interview. Think through how the interview was conducted, what was asked and what information was offered to you. Make sure to play your part, as well: participate actively in the conversation, ask questions and follow the lead of the employer. Remember that they are also unsure about whether you are interested in the position, so if you are interested, make sure they know it, in your words, non verbals and with a well written thank you letter afterwards.