Sometimes it’s all too apparent when a job interview hasn’t gone well—maybe there’s a cringeworthy statement you wish you could take back, or an icy glance from an interviewer who doesn’t seem to find your small talk very charming. But what differentiates an okay job interview from one you’ve just rocked? Here are some key signals that you’ve had a great interview.
1. The interviewer has positive body language
Interviewers are professionals (ideally!), but they’re also human. Sometimes the earliest indicator that things are going well is the immediate physical feedback you get. Is the person engaged in the conversation, or is she just asking rote questions? Are you getting a lot of positive affirmation, like nods and smiles or verbal agreement? This isn’t a foolproof way to gauge your progress (hey, some people are just very friendly), but it’s a great first clue.
2. The interviewer asks you about your interest in the job
If the interviewer asks you point blank if you’d be interested in the job, it’s not quite a job offer, but it’s a very positive sign. It may mean the person thinks that you’re a good candidate and they want to test out whether you’re serious about it before moving you to the next step. If the interviewer asks you about where else you’re interviewing, that’s also a good sign. If they weren’t interested in you, they probably wouldn’t be trying to gauge the competition or scoping out whether you’re likely to accept a potential job offer.
3. You set up a second interview on the spot
The signs don’t get much clearer than this one. If they actively invite you back for another round of interviews, you’re in very good shape. But don’t forget that while a second interview is a great omen, it still means another round of prep. After all, there could be other candidates coming back for a second interview as well, so it’s important not to go into the next interview thinking you have a job offer on the table just yet.
4. You get a personal tour
If your interviewer brings you around the office to show you the space and introduce you to people, or calls people in to meet you, it shows they’re already thinking of you as a potential member of the team.
5. The interview goes long
A short interview isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but if your interview goes longer than the allotted time it likely means that the interviewer is interested enough to have a meaningful, in-depth conversation about the position and your qualifications for it. Particularly if you’re meeting with a single interviewer, a long conversation points to a great level of engagement.
6. The interviewer goes into day-to-day job specifics
Most interviewers will give an overview of the open position to make sure you understand the job. But if the interviewer takes the time to do a deep dive into the job’s responsibilities and integrates you into the discussion (“you would be doing X,” “you would be leading this project,” etc.), it suggests they already see you as a good fit.
7. Your thank you note nets a response
No matter what, you need to send a thank you note as a follow-up to your interview. The interviewer, however, is not obligated to respond in any way. If you send your thank you and you get a response (especially a quick one), it shows that your interviewer is engaged in the process and likely had a positive reaction to your conversation. Bonus points if there are specific references to a point you discussed, because that can help you tell if it’s just an automatic response on their part or a genuinely warm reaction. Tone is everything here.
The waiting game after an interview can be one of the most frustrating parts of any job hunt. If you’re able to walk out of the room with any of these positive outcomes behind you, it can help reassure you that things really did go well, and that you’re on the right track for a second interview—or maybe even that job offer.
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