You’re just about to head out of the interview, but you can’t help but second-guess whether it went well. As you scan through the events of the interview in your mind’s eye, you get the feeling that it was kind of a mixed bag: some good and some bad.
But don’t sweat it one bit! There are discernible signs an interview went well. Maybe you received positive feedback or had a hiring manager comment about the experience that you showed through your resume, both of which are great signs that a job offer is in your future.
In this article, we will discuss:
- 15 signs that a job interview was a success
- 7 bad signs you can assess for your next job interview
It’s never easy to analyze how a first interview went, but if you speak to a career counselor from Enhancv, they can help you debrief and learn from your interviews. Two heads are better than one, and having an experienced counselor can help you go back through your recent interviews to see what went well and what you could’ve done better.
15 Signs That an Interview Was a Success
Positive body language from the hiring manager
Body language is an easy way to tell that you’re building rapport with someone. According to Harvard Law’s Program on Negotiation, body language is key to establishing rapport in a negotiation. An interview is just one form of negotiation.
Did you know that 93% of the interactions we have with other people are from nonverbal cues, like eye contact and body language? If somebody locks eyes with you and smiles, you almost instantly pick up that the person is enjoying the conversation with you.
Also, if you see your interviewer literally sitting at the edge of her seat waiting to hear more about why you feel you’re a good fit at their company, that’s a positive sign that the interview is going well. People who are engaged face the person they’re talking to, make eye contact and sit up straight.
It lasted for a significant amount of time
Another way to tell if an interview went well is that the interview lasted for a good amount of time. Time flies when you’re having fun, and if the hiring manager is engaged, they won’t be looking up at the clock or their watch every 5 minutes.
For an initial interview, you can expect it to last between 30 minutes to an hour. Now, if it lasts under 30 minutes, don’t fret. As long as you see other good signs listed on this list, then you’ll know that you’re still in good shape.
You learned tons of information about the role and company
Companies tend to only share tangible information about their company with somebody who they think will be a good fit. It’s a good sign if you learn about the company culture or the vision and mission of the company, as it shows that they’re letting you “peek behind the curtain” and see how the company runs.
You’re likely to hear more about a company if you are doing well in your interview. If that’s the case, you should make a mental note of what they’re telling you. You can pull from that information later on in the interview process to craft brilliant questions for your interviewer.
You had an engaging conversation with your interviewer
Your interview starts off with a ‘bang’ when your interviewer explains that she went to the same university that you did. You make a joke about the food offered in the cafeteria, and right then you are ‘in’.
Once you’ve established rapport with them and you’ve got an engaged interviewer sitting in front of you, everything will seem a lot easier. The awkward tension in the room is gone. You’re able to have a natural conversation and share more about your story, your goals, and your vision for yourself, and to learn more about the company.
They asked for your preferred start date
Your interviewer asks you, “So, when is your earliest availability to start at this position?”
Now that’s a good sign, huh?
You know that you’ve done well in your interview process when they are immediately asking you when you can start for it. This shows that you are one of the top candidates, if not the only one, that they’re interested in having to fill the position. You should consider this as the best sign that you’ve aced an interview.
Your interviewer gave you a timeline for the next steps
With larger companies, you may expect to go through multiple interviews before you get offered a position. Your hiring manager may ask you when you’re available for a second interview. They may also tell you a list of potential dates for you to come in and continue the hiring process.
The interviewer introduced you to other team members
If an interviewer gives you an office tour and gets you to meet other people around the office, then you know you made a great impression on them. Only those top candidates, the ones that they’re highly interested in, get to meet the team.
A major benefit of this is that you may actually get to know the team of people that you’ll be working with. Do your best to memorize the names of the people you will be working with and learn about their positions at the company. Being proactive in meeting people in the office can give you a leg up when you start in the position.
They gave you a follow-up date
You made it through to the next round of interviews, and they’ve offered you an interview a week from today. This is actually a significant sign, because not very many people make it through to the next round of job interviews.
You received a follow-up email or phone call
If you made an impression on your hiring manager, you may receive a follow-up email or phone call. Take advantage of the situation by showing gratitude to your interviewer. They went out of their way to call you and reach out to you, and the least you can do is thank them for the interview and for taking time out of their day to contact you.
If you have a couple of follow-up questions that you weren’t able to ask at the interview, then this is the time to do it.
You answered many questions regarding your previous experience and skills
You may get a good feeling about an interview when you feel you are doing a great job of representing your experience. Any great interview is an exchange of ideas, a time when a hiring manager and an applicant can sit down and decide on whether it seems like a good potential partnership.
Maybe you shared how you took a leadership role at your last company, helped manage and organize the IT team, and shared quantifiable information on what you did to build into your team members. This can help to show that you’re not only confident, but could thrive in the position.
Your interviewer tried to “sell” you on the position
Suddenly the tables turn, and your interviewer wants you on board their team. You’ll notice that the conversation will shift and your interviewer will start to sell you on the position and company. If you’re in this position, be sure to show that you’re engaged through your body language. Maintain eye contact, and an upright posture, and also smile and nod when your interviewer shares with you details about the company.
Another thing you can do when you’re being sold on the position is to ask engaging questions. If they share with you about the company’s culture, ask them about the history of the company. Also, include comments throughout that show that you’re following along.
Your interview ran longer than what was scheduled
If your interview goes longer than the scheduled time, that may be a great sign that you’re having a spectacular interview.
As mentioned above, the average interview lasts between 30-60 minutes, but you don’t need to stick to that time limit. In fact, going over that time shows that you’ve connected with your interviewer. Plus, the more time you get to spend with an interviewer, the more time that you get to share about yourself and your career.
You received positive responses after answering questions
When someone is engaged in what you’re saying, they’re going to ask follow-up questions and respond with what you’re saying. If the job interview went well, then you can expect the hiring manager to know a good deal about your work experience.
For example, if you share that you averaged the highest sales figures in your team because you cultivated client relationships, an interviewer may ask more about what steps you took to build relationships with clients and meet their needs. This follow-up question allows you to go into more detail about the specific ways that you excelled in your position.
Other positive responses include when an interviewer responds with a smile at a joke that you’ve made or nods their head.
The interviewer repeatedly read your resume
You worked hard on crafting an excellent resume, and it feels good when you’re in the middle of an interview and you know the interviewer has read it. If during the actual interview, the interviewer talks about some of your achievements found only on your resume, it shows that they’re interested in you and that they have taken the time to read through your entire resume.
You were asked for your references
If at the end of an interview, you’re asked for your references, then chances are you are high on the list of candidates that they want for the position. It might be a good idea to come up with a list of references just in case you have a successful interview.
7 Signs That An Interview Didn’t Go Too Well
The interviewer didn’t sell you on their company
If an interviewer doesn’t try to “sell” you on the position, then it might be a sign that you just had a bad interview. If they’re not listing the company perks and trying to get you interested in the position, then they might have already made a decision that you won’t be a great fit for their company.
However, keep in mind that this is a minor sign that something hasn’t gone well. Continue through the rest of the list to find more major signs that your interview went badly.
The hiring manager wasn’t paying attention
It’s always a bad sign when an interviewer seems bored or distracted. It means that they weren’t paying attention to what you are saying, which might mean that you didn’t make a great first impression on them.
If ever you find yourself in the middle of an interview and notice that your interviewer isn’t quite paying attention, try to say something that will catch their attention, using quantifiable examples from your work experience to show that you are the ideal candidate to fill the position.
The interview was cut short
Although it may seem like a bad sign, having your interview cut short doesn’t necessarily mean that your interview went badly. Just like some of the above examples, it’s not always a terrible thing if an interview is cut short.
Human resources representatives have a busy schedule, and the reason why the interview could be cut short is that they had something else planned for that afternoon. Dozens, even hundreds of people, apply for certain jobs, so they may want to get through as many candidates as possible in the first round of interviews.
The hiring manager didn’t share much information about the position
It might be a bad sign if you learn very little information about the role that you’ll be filling. An interview usually is a two-way conversation, whereby an interviewer and a candidate can discern if this will make a good partnership.
If you haven’t learned about the day-to-day activities of the position or your role within the company, then they might be deliberately keeping this information from you.
At the end of the interview, do your due diligence and ask about the position if you haven’t heard a lot of information about it. You honestly never know if you’re in the running for the position until you receive confirmation about a second interview or a job offer, so be willing to ask questions and learn more about the company whenever you can.
The interviewer didn’t ask about your availability or discuss the next steps
If an interviewer doesn’t ask about your availability, it might mean that you didn’t make it to the next stage of interviews. If possible, ask if and when you will hear more about the position at the end of the interview.
The employer asked questions that seemed out-of-place
Throughout an interview, you may realize some questions that they’re asking have negative aspects to them. Perhaps they’re lingering on a gap in your resume, which you have fully explained. Or maybe they’re asking you about the company you used to work for, which is a major competitor of theirs, delving more into the inner workings of the company than your actual time there.
If you come across any odd questions, then this might be a red flag to you that this company is not one that you want to work for. This is especially true if you come across unprofessional questions like about your marital status or age.
The interviewer told you they have concerns
This may be a big sign that the interview didn’t go too well. If an interviewer tells you they have concerns about your competence or ability to handle the position, then they may honestly be telling you that you aren’t a good fit for the position.
It’s not always easy to figure out if an interview went well or poorly, but there are signs that can help you figure out if you left a good impression. If an interviewer shows positive body language and asks you questions about your work experience from information they found on your resume, then that shows that your interviewer is engaged in what you’re saying. Alternatively, if an interviewer seems bored and hasn’t shared with you very much about the position, that might be a bad sign that the interview has gone poorly.
Even if you’re in the middle of an interview and you feel like it’s gone poorly, you can always save it by showing that you’re interested in the position and by showing that you’d be the best candidate to fill it. Turn your interview around by using some of the advice above.
If you’d like some career advice or to learn how to ace your next interview, speak with a career counselor from Enhancv. The career counselor will help you identify all the above signs, and help you engage your interviewer at your next interview.