Can You Tell If the Interview Went Well?

By Joe Stein

 
If you are like me, then you are inherently pessimistic about how an interview went. I don’t think I have ever felt that one went well, always replaying in my mind how I should have done things differently. 
 
To help ease my post-interview stress, one of the things that I try to do is analyze the interview for clues that perhaps it went better than I originally thought. There are generally either verbal or visual clues provided during the course of the conversation that can help you in this regard. By doing this, you can not only relieve some of your post-interview stress, but also better prepare yourself if the prospective employer does call regarding next steps in the process.
 
So, what are some of the signs that would lead you to believe that you did better than you may have originally thought? The following are just some of the indicators that you are on your way to passing the interview hurdle and moving forward towards landing the position.
 
·         Interviewer is Ready and Prepared – The first positive sign is when your Interviewer is ready for the interview and has clearly prepared for the conversation. This shows that the person thought of you not as a courtesy interview, but rather as a viable candidate.
·         Interview Goes Full Scheduled Time or Beyond – A candidate should be concerned when an interview goes shorter than what was scheduled, since that usually means the Interviewer did not feel the need to invest more time in you. On the flip side, if the interview runs long, take that as a positive that the person wanted to find out as much as they could out of you and enjoyed the conversation.
·         Body Language – Some of this may be just filed under good Interviewer techniques, but it also may be a positive sign for you. Signs such as nodding their head, occasionally smiling, straight posture, and full attention can be indicators that you are doing well and keeping the Interviewer fully engaged.
·         Given a Tour/Introductions – With some companies, this may just be a normal part of the process, but with others it really does give you a tip that things went well. This is especially true if the tour is more than just a courtesy walk around the building perimeter, or if the Interviewer goes out of his/her way to introduce you. Extra points if you are introduced to the team that you will be working with, or who will be reporting to you. A Hiring Manager does not want to explain (at a later time) who that person was that received an introduction but was never seen again.
·         Depth of Information Provided – If the Interviewer starts talking to you about current projects and challenges in some degree of detail, consider that a positive. An even greater bonus is if the Interviewer starts getting into future plans and projects for the next couple of years. Further bonus points if the Interviewer starts injecting you in this conversation regarding future work that needs to be done.
·         Conversation Beyond Business – With most Interviewers, the more non-work related conversation (such as sports, weather, mutual interest) the better. It displays a comfort level the Interviewer has with you and an interest on his/her part to connect with you beyond the job you are interviewing for. 
·         Time for Questions – A good sign is when the Interviewer has plenty of time for questions. Trying to rush through this portion can be an indicator that the Interviewer does not want to invest further time in you. If he/she is excited about your candidacy, they will generally find the time to make sure all of your questions are being answered.
·         How Does It Close? – This may be the most compelling set of clues if the interview went well. Does the Interviewer ask you what kind of notice period will you need to provide your current employer?  Does the Interviewer inquire about your current job search and what activity you have?  Does the Interviewer explain in detail the next steps of the process? Does the Interviewer verify your references (if provided) for names and phone numbers? The more that is covered at the end of the interview the better your chances of success normally will be. One final thought on this bullet point is that salary discussion can really go either way…it may be a way to be sure you do not fit in the range, or it can be that they are really serious. You really need to analyze how the question was asked, and where did the Interviewer leave the topic when he or she moved on.
 
Reviewing your interview for success indicators probably won’t relieve all of your post-interview stress, but it should go a long ways towards that goal. During the course of your interview, you will be provided clues regarding how you are doing. Read the “tea leaves” properly, and you should know where you stand with the Interviewer.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search!