5 ways to know how your job interview really went

2336784676 108d19f445 m 5 ways to know how your job interview really wentHow did your last job interview go?

Sometimes you have a gut feeling. It went well, it didn’t go so well. You had the answers, you felt unsure.

Since so much of your success has to do with how well you connect with the interviewer, some of the best information you can gather about your interview success comes from observing the interviewer and the way that you interact.

  1. How long you talk. Interviews are often scheduled for a half hour or hour in length. If your conversation goes beyond the scheduled time slot, they’re really enjoying the conversation.
  2. How much eye contact you get. This actually speaks to the larger question of body language. Do they look you in the eye? Smile? Lean towards you? Do they seem present in the conversation, or are they more concerned with their Blackberry? If they’re excited about working with you, they’ll be excited to talk to you about how that will work.
  3. How far off script you go. Some interviewers are given specific interview questions to ask. Others make their own. But as they ask you questions, you can gauge whether the questions are standard interview fare, or if they’re really delving into your background and experience, or asking about your passions, interests and motivation. The more interested that they are, the more in depth the conversation will get.
  4. How clear your next steps are. At the end of the interview, you should always ask for next steps. The answer may be very clear — they may say they want to bring you back. The level of detail provided with the answer may reflect your potential for advancing to the next round. A “we have several other people to interview, we’ll be in touch,” can be a bit noncommital, while “we have four more interviews scheduled this week, and we anticipate getting back to people to schedule the next round of interviews Monday or Tuesday” gives you a little more to go on. If they go to the effort of walking you through what the process will look like, that can indicate that you’ll be moving through it.
  5. What they say when you ask. It doesn’t hurt to ask if there are any concerns that you can help address at the end of an interview. The interviewer’s response can be very telling — anything from a specific objection and information about why it’s a problem to a glowing review of your performance.

That’s not to say that interviewers aren’t sometimes busy, distracted, or just poorly trained. But if you have a few of these factors working for you, you can feel pretty good about your chances.

The last time you had a really great interview, how did you know it was a winner?

cc 5 ways to know how your job interview really went photo credit: woodleywonderworks

8 thoughts on “5 ways to know how your job interview really went

  1. You make a lot of good points. A lot of this can go under the heading of “rapport development.” While no doubt there are some interviewers who will strive to develop rapport even if they have no intention of moving the person to the next round, most aren’t probably aren’t willing to invest in instances like that. So, if you feel like you’re developing meaningful rapport, you’re probably on the right track!

  2. #4: I think it’s important to end the interview with a closing question. It’s the same as sales, and an interview really is selling yourself, so remember to “ask for the sale”. Not in a pushy way, but no one wants to leave an interview, and wait for weeks before they realize the call isn’t coming.

    Haven’t interviewed in years, but I hope I would remember to take my own advice!

  3. Gary: Great summary of the concept! There are lots of other indicators of rapport that can help people gauge their success.

    Scott: Excellent tip. People can ask for the job, or ask for next steps and get a commitment of follow up. Both will help move things forward and give a candidate a solid foundation for future conversations with the company.

  4. Well I was interviewed exactly 2 weeks ago for a position I’m really interested in. At the end of the interview I followed your advice, Kristi, and it seemed like they were interested. That night they sent me a little questionnaire and asked for my permission to start a background check, to which I promptly responded right after sending my “Thank You” emails to all interviewers. Is it time yet to send a follow-up email to the hiring manager? As I said, it’s been 2 weeks. BUT the HR lady (my last interviewer) told me to “be patient because everything here takes a while” (which I knew because they’re part of a major foreign corporation and they have to go back to the “parent company” for such decisions). I just don’t know what’s “long enough” and I didn’t want to be annoying/pushy and follow her answer with “Well how long is ‘a while’?”….. Help please! :)

  5. E: I can understand your challenge. Here’s what I would do: try to find an article, event or some other item that would be of interest to the hiring manager. Send them a brief email saying that you ran across it, thought they might find it interesting, and that you’re still very interested in the position and look forward to hearing about next steps. Done right, this comes across more as networking than “nagging.” With luck, they’ll let you know how the process is evolving. Let me know how it goes!

  6. I had an interview for a PhD program via skype about three weeks ago. There are nine position of which 24 people have been shortlisted for. The interview was close to an hour. I felt I answered most of questions he put across and he even asked my question like do you have a family? then I answered no. then he went like ‘ so we dont have to worry about bring them over’. Again he even went on to about how the arrangement of the position, the schedule of my field work and all that. the committee will meet next week to do the final selection. Though I feel positive about this interview, I also feel I might have evaded some few question. On the close not he remarked OK Ernest see you around. How would you interpret such an interview?

  7. I had today an interview, well it was very quick one, and I would have worried if not one BUT, there were two candidates before me and they finished theirs interview withing 10 min, so when I was called to the room the HR was vary friendly and enthusiastic! She smiled alot at me and gave me a very good hand shake, as other interviewer was going through questions and when I was responding to it, she was always responding to my answers with a big smile and noggin. They asked me if it’s OK for me if they going to contact my manager for references? I told them that that’s perfectly fine. She asked me if I know more about my position and I told her that I knew but there may be something out there that I’m missing, then she went through and explained to me what my role would be. At the end if the interview I asked her what would be the next stage? She told me that if I’m successful they will get back to me in a 4-5 working days. That’s was all, she even cracked a joke at the end when I was leaving, but I’m still not sure whether I was successful or not….

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