Congratulations on wrapping up your latest job interview. You think the interview went well but how can you be sure?
Now that you’ve had some time to take a breath and reflect on that conversation, the confusion and self-doubt have more than likely kicked in. You’re chewing your nails and overanalyzing every answer, offhand remark, and facial expression, searching for clues about whether or not you can expect a second interview.
You aren’t alone. We all do it. The job search is filled with a lot of uncertainty, and there’s no surefire way to get inside your interviewer’s head. Fortunately, there are a few signs that indicate you knocked your interview out of the park (and conversely, there are some clues you can pick up on if it didn’t go so well).
7 Signs You Nailed Your Interview
Before we begin, we just want to mention that, when it comes to the interview process, there’s really no such thing as foolproof signs. While the things we’re about to discuss are generally positive, they aren’t a guarantee. Similarly, if these things didn’t happen in your interview, that doesn’t mean it was a disaster. There are always exceptions.
Now, let’s look at some signs that you likely hooked your interviewer and are one step closer to landing that job.
Your Interview Ran Longer Than Scheduled
Your interview was scheduled for half an hour, but it was closer to 45 minutes or an hour before your conversation wrapped up. Chances are, your interviewer is interested in you and was highly engaged in the information you were providing.
Oftentimes, recruiters know if it wasn’t a fit, and since they don’t want to waste anyone’s time, will generally wrap up right at the scheduled time. But when recruiters find a stellar candidate, they will more than likely try to spend additional time to flush out what they need to know to make an informed decision.
Your Conversation Flowed Naturally
While this is easy to forget when your nerves are running high, interviews really are human-to-human conversations. If your interaction flows more like a natural discussion and less like a formal Q&A, that’s a positive. Polite small talk and some friendly back-and-forth indicate that the interviewer was not only interested in you but also felt a certain level of comfort.
Just be aware that some companies conduct very structured interviews with set lists of questions asked in a certain order to satisfy diversity and inclusion criteria or abide by other company policies, so don’t get discouraged if your interviewer seemed to stick to the script.
You Were Asked Follow-Up Questions
Interested interviewers will dig deeper into your answers with related questions. Are they asking follow-up questions that build well upon what you are saying? Or do they seem like they’re just going through their checklist of required questions?
Pressing you for additional detail is a good sign, even if it feels a little intimidating in the moment. Keep in mind, though, that if they’re simply restating the same question they already asked, it could be a sign that you aren’t giving enough information in your initial answer.
They Want You to Meet Other Team Members
When you’re asked to meet with other team members who weren’t originally scheduled or you’re asked to meet with their boss, that’s a very strong indicator that they are excited about you. Most likely, they want to advocate that you’re the perfect fit and ensure that the approval process gets expedited by having other company influencers meet you.
This isn’t necessarily a common scenario, especially if your job interviews are taking place virtually, so don’t take it as a bad sign if you only meet with your scheduled interviewer. However, if the hiring manager mentions wanting to introduce you to their boss, a department leader, or another decision-maker, you can still mark a check in the “positive signs” column.
Your Interviewer “Sold” You on the Job and Company
It can be tough to remember that job interviews are supposed to go both ways, but they do. The employer is evaluating if you’re a good match for the role and the company, and you’re collecting more information to see if this is a place you’d like to work.
With that in mind, if your interviewer is actively selling you on the job—by touting things like growth opportunities, perks, company culture, accolades, and more—that’s a sign they want to get you excited about the position. Similarly, take note if they ask about your job search and if you’re interviewing with other employers. They could be evaluating how competitive of an offer they need to make.
Your Interviewer Gave You a Timeline for Next Steps
Getting to this interview is a big deal, but it’s also just one step in the hiring process. If your interviewer went into detail about the hiring timeline and what you could expect to happen next, that means they’re interested and want you to be in the loop on what’s coming up.
Not only is this a good sign about your candidacy, but it also says a lot about that employer. It’s proof that they have a clear and organized interview process and value transparency for their applicants (and likely their employees too).
Your Follow-Up Email Got a Quick Response
You know the importance of sending a thank you note after your interview, and you took that advice and wrote a friendly, personalized email. That message received a response almost immediately to thank you for your time and to tell you that they’ll be in touch soon.
A quick reply is confirmation that you’re top of mind and they want to keep you engaged in the hiring process. Even better than that? There was an email about next steps in your inbox before you even had a chance to press “send” on your own thank you note.
So, You’ve Aced Your Interview—Now What?
You’ve checked off some (or maybe all) of the above signs, and now you’re feeling confident that you can expect to move forward in the process. Here are a few things you should do to make the most of that momentum:
Send a thank you note or email if you haven’t already. According to one survey, 80% of hiring managers find these messages at least somewhat helpful when reviewing candidates.
Jot down some notes about the important information you received as well as some of the main points you mentioned and stories you told in the interview. If you move forward in the process, it’s good to have these details to refer back to.
Avoid thinking you’re a shoo-in until you get confirmation that you’re moving forward. Confidence is a great thing, but you also don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself and set yourself up for disappointment.
Remember, these are just some of the positive signs you can get from an interview. At the end of the day, if you felt it went well it probably did, even if you didn’t check everything off of this list.