You just wrapped up a job interview for a role you’re excited about. You think it went well. But wait, did it?
Now that you’ve had some time to take a breath and reflect on that conversation, the confusion and self-doubt have kicked in. You’re chewing your nails and overanalyzing every answer, offhand remark, and facial expression, searching for clues about whether or not you can expect a second interview. Were you the candidate who stood out the most from the interviews?
You aren’t alone—we all do it. The job search is filled with a lot of uncertainty, and there’s no surefire way to get inside your interviewer’s head. Fortunately, there are a few signs you aced the job interview (and conversely, there are some clues you can pick up on if it didn’t go so well).
Signs You Aced the Job Interview
Before we jump in, a friendly disclaimer: When it comes to the interview process, there’s really no such thing as foolproof signs. While the things we’re about to discuss are generally positive, they aren’t a guarantee. Similarly, if these things didn’t happen in your interview, that doesn’t mean it was a disaster. There are always exceptions.
Got it? Good. Now, let’s talk about some signs that you likely hooked that interviewer and are one step closer to landing that job.
Your Interview Ran Longer Than Scheduled
Your interview was scheduled for half an hour, but it was closer to 45 minutes or an hour before your conversation wrapped up. Chances are, your interviewer is interested in you and was highly engaged in the information you were providing.
Your Conversation Flowed Naturally
While this is easy to forget when your nerves are running high, interviews really are human-to-human conversations. Kaplan explains that if your interaction flowed more like a natural discussion and less like an interrogation, that’s a positive. Polite small talk and some friendly back-and-forth indicate that the interviewer was not only interested in you, but also felt a certain level of comfort.
Just be aware that some companies conduct very structured interviews with set lists of questions asked in a certain order to satisfy diversity and inclusion criteria or abide by other company policies, so don’t get discouraged if your interviewer seemed to stick to the script.
Your Follow-Up Email Got a Quick Response
You know the importance of sending a thank you note after your interview, and you took that advice and wrote a friendly, personalized email. That message received a response almost immediately to thank you for your time and to tell you that they’ll be in touch soon.
A quick reply is confirmation that you’re top of mind and they want to keep you engaged in the hiring process. Even better than that? There was an email about next steps in your inbox before you even had a chance to press “send” on your own thank you note.
Signs Your Interview Didn’t Go So Well
Now let’s talk about the flipside: You have this sinking feeling that maybe your interview didn’t go as well as you hoped. If you noticed some of the following signs, they could mean that you need to continue your search and prepare to nail future interviews with other employers.
Keep in mind that nothing is a guarantee, and the only way you’ll know for sure is when you get either a polite rejection email or hear that the company wants to invite you to do a second interview, an interview assignment, or another next step.
Your Interviewer Wasn’t Paying Attention
If your interviewer appears to be somewhere else mentally or you notice them looking at another screen during your video interview, Kaplan says, they might be disinterested or disengaged from your conversation.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that they were taking a quick look at your resume or their list of interview questions. So don’t place too much weight into a brief distraction or break in eye contact. That’s way different from a lack of commitment to your entire conversation.
You Didn’t Have an Opportunity to Ask Questions
If you were given the opportunity to ask questions but your interviewer provided really curt or vague answers, that’s also not a great sign for your candidacy or for that employer’s commitment to respectful and transparent communication.