After a job interview, one of the first questions a friend or family member asks is “how did it go?” The problem with this question is that you are frequently wondering the same thing. After spending so much time rehearsing and practicing questions and answers, how do you really know that you have said what the interviewer wants to hear?
Some people say it’s a gut feeling and you just feel good — or not so good — after an interview. But for many, they have no clear sense of how an interview went.
This is often because there are a lot of variables in interview situations that can make it difficult to accurately gauge whether or not you did well. For example, an interview at a large corporation in front of a panel of interviewers is likely a significantly different experience than an interview with the owner of a start-up company. However, your interview experience doesn’t necessarily reflect the impression you make on the interviewer.
To help you read between the lines, here are three ways of knowing that you made a good impression.
1) You Notice PositiveNon-verbal Cues to Your Answers. This could be something as simple as a smile or nod. The interviewer may not even mean to express these actions, they simply happen because they are involved and engaged in the conversation.
2) The Interviewer Asks Whether You Are Currently Pursuing Other Opportunities. This may seem like a casual question, but the employer is often trying to find out whether they will need to compete with another company in order to hire you. Be honest with your answer.
3) You Are Asked About Your Interest in the Job. This may seem like a casual question, but the interviewer often uses it to gauge whether or not you would accept a job offer.
There are also a few signs that an interview may not have gone as well as you hoped.
1) The Interview Was Shorter Than You Expected. An interviewer usually has a question guide or checklist to work from. If the interviewer has already decided that you are not a good fit for the position, they will often skip questions to hurry it along.
2) The Interviewer Was Disinterested or Distracted. Just as positive non-verbal cues say a lot, so do negative ones. If the interviewer doesn’t seem overly interested in what you have to say, then they may have already decided that you are not the right fit.
3) The Interviewer Doesn’t Ask A lot of Questions About Your Skills and Experience. When an interviewer is interested in a candidate, they are often keen to learn more about their specific skills and the experience that they will bring to the job. If you are not being considered for the role, the interviewer may not delve further into what you might bring to the job.
Regardless of whether you feel an interview went well, you should always follow up in writing to thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. This thank you is not only polite but it will also give you one last opportunity to reiterate your enthusiasm for the role and highlight the top skills that you offer.