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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?