12 Signs You Nailed Your Interview Even if It Doesn’t Feel Like It
Did you go for an interview and now you’re stressed up over your performance? You’re not sure whether you made a mess of the opportunity or aced the interview?
You’re not alone.
The anxiety that follows any interview can cause a lot of restlessness. Even with the ability to read the interviewers’ faces and understand non-verbal communication, it can still be a challenge to know whether you nailed the interview.
But not anymore.
Although interviewers wouldn’t tell you directly whether they’ll hire you, there are signs you can look for and get insight into their thinking.
Today we want to share with you the signs which can help you sleep happy right after an interview. We’ll give you 12 signs to look out for. Most of them will be evident during the interview itself. But some are unique to after the interview, either immediately or afterwards.
And whereas these signs are not all there are, they will help you remember the interview and make an accurate conclusion. Knowing them will also help you look out for them in the course of the interview itself.
Let’s get started.
1. INTERVIEWER SHOWED CONNECTION AND AGREEMENT
If the interviewer seemed to be in agreement with what you were saying, then that’s a good sign that you checked all the right boxes. Every time they said “Okay” or “Sure,” they meant that you were giving the kind of answers expected of the right candidate.
Of course this alone can’t provide any hard evidence that you nailed the interview and that’s why we have a list of 12 signs. However, if the interviewer isn’t questioning you as though they’re investigators, you can safely conclude that you’re on the right path.
Along the lines of agreeing with your answers, the interviewer could also have shown some level of connection with you. And here, we’re not talking about being welcomed into the interview room and being smiled at.
No, that’s quite standard.
If the hiring manager is maintaining soft eye contact with you, not just agreeing verbally with you but also nodding and smiling, then you can be sure of something good coming your way.
Apart from the eye contact, something else which is a total give away is the use of your name when asking questions. If the interviewer did this severally, then it’s a deal. This is the truest show of connection and proof that the hiring manager sees you as the ideal hire.
2. YOU DISCUSSED THE SALARY
One thing many job candidates fail to understand is that your salary isn’t everything. There are professions with very high salaries but with low job satisfaction.
It’s always a good idea to negotiate in such a way that you’ll benefit from a work-life balance.
And all these negotiations will start when you’re asked about the salary. This could also be an offer given then you’re asked whether you’ll take it.
First of all, rarely will you discuss the salary during the first interview. So, if you got to the second one and are discussing your pay, that’s already a good sign.
Also, these discussions don’t happen in a vacuum. If the hiring manager told you how good the company is and the many benefits it provides, then know that you got the interview right. You could even say that the tables have turned; you’re the one now to judge their salary’s acceptability and not them to judge your suitability.
Some hiring managers even ask you whether you’re attending other interviews. They do this to try and gauge your availability and see how quickly you can be convinced to take their offer.
At this point, they already have their eyes on you and would like to get you before another company does.
3. THE INTERVIEW TURNED CASUAL
As with many other job candidates, you expected the interview to be cold. Getting questions thrown at you while you’re being judged for every word and move. And whereas that may have been what happened at the beginning, maybe you noticed that things changed.
Gradually, the interview turned casual with the conversation becoming more friendly. Of course you couldn’t just throw caution to the wind and start responding as though you’re chatting with your friend.
However, this is a sign that the interviewer developed confidence in your abilities to solve the company’s problems. You already got viewed as a successful candidate.
When that happens, the hiring manager and anyone else on the panel starts seeing you as a colleague. They may not completely show it but they’re already seeing you as someone they can spend time with during office breaks and discuss work matters.
More proof of this comes in the form of your interview taking longer than normal yet it’s not because the panel isn’t satisfied with your answers.
With the conversation being casual, you might also have noticed the hiring manager telling you a bit more about herself—even if on the professional side, like how she works.
4. YOU WERE TOLD ABOUT THE COMPANY’S CHALLENGES AND THE BIGGER PICTURE
Normally, the company with a vacancy to fill will include a brief description of the job in the job ad. This will tell the interested applicants what the situation at the company is like and how the company believes it should be handled.
This is why job ads have statements like, “The successful candidate should be able to…”
These same requirements are what will be used during the interview but with additional requirements only known to the interviewer. However, if the interviewer starts giving you details of what the situation is, then know that you’re already being viewed as someone who can help.
That’s a big difference. You’ve just moved from being a job candidate to being a solution provider, or part of a team to solve the problem.
You can see the openness in this through the concern in the voice and tone used. The hiring manager is basically being open with you and letting you know that there is a real need to be addressed.
If she goes ahead and tells you how the issue is affecting the company’s short, mid or even long-term goals, then she sees you as an insider already. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a need to tell you all that.
5. INTERVIEWER USED “WHEN,” AND NOT “IF”
Another key sign that you performed well in the interview despite what your feelings would rather tell you, is the use of certain words.
Normally, as a job candidate, you would get questions beginning with the word “If.”
Here are a few example questions starting with “If.”
- If you were to get hired, what would be the first thing you’ll do?
- If we took you on board and your team members rejected the changes you proposed, what would you do?
- If you’re assigned a client and he tells you that he wants to work with your predecessor, how would you respond?
If you noticed it, the word “If” paints a picture of possibilities. The possibility that you could be hired. That however also means it’s possible you wouldn’t be hired. This is the way hiring managers frame their questions so as to elicit responses which will show your way of thinking and doing things.
What about the change from “If” to “When?”
The use of the word “When” implies that in the mind of the interviewer, you’ve actually passed the interview already. They’re no longer wondering whether you can do the job well. They’re now wondering how things will look like with you in the organization.
If the interviewer used the word “When,” especially towards the end of the interview, it means that you already passed the vetting stage. Even if anxiety is building up inside you, you can calm yourself down knowing that everything went well.
6. YOU WERE ASKED FOR REFERENCES
Another sign is being asked for references. There is no way an interviewer will ask you for these unless she intends to call them.
And why would the hiring manager call your references?
Simple. It’s a background check. It’s an effort to ascertain whether what you said about yourself—in your resume and during the interview—is true.
If the interviewer decides to contact your references, you can be sure that you’ve passed the interview. You performed well or exceptionally and there’s nothing to hold you back from getting the job offer.
Calling of references is usually just a procedure and not necessarily an attempt to unearth any dirt. But if the job you applied for requires a security clearance, then the background check is something serious. If you told any lie, then you’ll probably lose the job opportunity.
Yet, even in the case of a job in a sensitive government agency, the recruiting team conducts a background check only if you’ve passed the initial interview.
7. YOU TALKED ABOUT THE NEXT STEPS
An interview is usually a stage in the recruiting process. For every vacancy to be filled in an organization, the first thing to do would be to advertise the opening. Whether this is done through internal mechanisms or social media, it’s just the start of the process.
Some organizations make use of recruiting firms. This means that your resume will first of all go to a consulted recruiter who will then forward it to the HR personnel if you meet the requirements.
If you then get to the interview and start being engaged on what the next steps after the interview are, then you know you did well.
Discussing the next steps could take the form of:
- You’re asked when and how to best contact you – you’ll realize that your contact information is in your resume already yet you’re asked how best to contact you. The keyword here is “best.” This is an indication that the hiring manager is pleased with you, likes you and is therefore treating you well. If you hadn’t performed well, you would most likely be told something like, “You’ll hear from us soon.” The language tells it all.
- You’re asked when you’re available to start working – this is a sure give away and it will come after you and the company representatives have agreed on your salary and other benefits. If you got this question, you should be celebrating.
- You’re given a date by which you’ll hear from the company – it’s one thing to be told that you’ll hear from the company and it’s something else to be told to expect communication by a specific day and even time.
If they think you’re the best fit, then they’ll give you a specific date by which you’ll have heard from them. Normally, this won’t take long.
8. YOU WERE TOLD WHEN THE NEXT INTERVIEW WOULD TAKE PLACE
Rarely will you attend just one interview and seal the deal immediately. In most cases, you’ll attend at least two interviews. The first one will be quite general in nature to filter out the candidates and get the front-runners. If you’re part of these, then congratulations.
Some organizations conduct more than two interviews as they seek to really gauge the suitability of the few candidates who have shown promise. If the interviews are more than three, do not despair. Just work on better performance for every subsequent interview for a higher chance of being hired.
If at the end of an interview, be it the first, second or whatever the number, you’re told when the next one will take place, it means that you’ve successfully gone through that particular interview. You’ve shown the potential to perform well on the job.
If this wasn’t the case, you would have been told something similar to, “We’ll get in touch with you.”
More practically though, not being told exactly when the next interview will be doesn’t necessarily mean that your performance was below par. It could be that the company hasn’t decided on a date yet. They know they’ll be doing another interview but the date is just yet to be agreed upon.
In such a case, just call the company on the third day after the interview in case they haven’t communicated. Make sure you check your spam box since an email from them could have landed there.
9. INTERVIEWER SHOOK HANDS WITH YOU AFTER THE INTERVIEW
You know that you should shake hands with those interviewing you. You even practiced the perfect handshake for business or interviews. And you got it right.
All the same, that part of the interview isn’t the most important, especially once the interview begins. What you should focus on is how they released you once the interview was over.
Did they tell you a simple “goodbye?”
All the non-verbal cues aside, when that happens, you probably didn’t really rock them. Of course, that doesn’t by itself mean that you won’t be advancing to the next stage.
However, if the interview ended with your interviewer or the panel standing to shaking your hand and saying “It was nice having you,” then you know that you’re really headed towards getting the job. If they could be impressed to that extent, you have nothing to worry about.
It’s a done deal. You can pop the champagne.
10. YOU WERE GIVEN AN OFFICE TOUR
Following along with the impressive performance, you could have been treated to a short office tour. If this happened, then understand that you’re actually being invited to work at the company.
Such office tours are meant to give you an early feel of what the office looks like, the atmosphere around and maybe even introduce you to a few employees. These employees are very likely the ones in the department you’re going to join or those you’ll be collaborating with.
All in all, an office tour isn’t a small thing. This is one of the surest signs that you’re going to get hired. If you hadn’t impressed, you wouldn’t be shown around the company. It’s the anticipation of you joining them that makes them give you that treat.
11. THE HIRING MANAGER WALKED YOU OUT
And to crown it all? The hiring manager walks you out and either shakes your hand (again) or just smiles and tells you goodbye.
If the hiring manager escorts you out of the building, or even to the parking lot, then it’s a sign of acceptance.
It’s the joy of anyone in HR or key decision maker in any department to get the best talent there is out there. They know the value that brings into the company and the department. It also gives them some bragging rights; they’ll be recognized for their ability to spot and recruit great talent.
This is the kind of joy and satisfaction that would manifest when the hiring manager walks you out of the building after an interview. If this happened, you don’t even need to ask any question. Just wait for the call or email on when to begin working.
12. YOU GET IMMEDIATE AND POSITIVE RESPONSE TO YOUR FOLLOW-UP EMAIL
Here’s the last sign to really confirm to you that you’re in good books with the hiring team and are on your way in.
Do you know that it could take over a week to receive a response to your follow-up email? And in some cases, you could wait forever for that response. That could happen if the organization doesn’t see you as a promising candidate.
Many hiring managers though will take time to send you a regret letter. But what if you sent a follow-up email in the afternoon right after the interview and got a positive response before close of business? Or early the following morning?
That kind of speed in response, especially if the response is positive, signifies an interest to work with you.
If you ever needed a sign that you nailed the interview, this should be a good one to rest your fears.
Interviews are usually high-tension interactions for job seekers and it’s perfectly understandable to be anxious about your performance. But with this list, you’ll have an easier time gauging how likely you are to hear from the interviewer or even get hired.
Even in the event that you didn’t get picked for the job, analyzing the interviewers’ reactions will help you move on faster. Just learn from the experience and work on performing better in the coming interviews.
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