You were punctual. You confidently answered all of their questions. You researched the company and asked intelligent questions. By all accounts, it seems the interview went well–but how do you really know?
“When you walk out the door, it’s easy to second-guess and relive how an interview went,” says Devony Coley, senior consultant for the recruiting firm WinterWyman. “Everyone wants to hear that they’re someone’s number-one choice.”
If the interview didn’t end with the question, ‘When can you start?’ there are other telltale clues that indicate it went well, hiring experts say. Here are 10 signs that suggest you’ll get a call back and maybe even a job offer:
If an interviewer tells you about a challenge the company has, and how they believe your experience will help you solve it, that’s awesome, says Joe Weinlick, vice president of the online career network Beyond.
“Usually you have to connect the dots for the interviewer and explain how your experience will apply,” he says. “If they’re already doing that, then they can picture you in the job.”
Weinlick suggests closing the loop by reinforcing their perception. Then mention again how your experience will enable you to succeed with the company when you send follow-up correspondence.
During the interview, if the interviewer pauses and asks what you think about the opportunity, they’re gauging your interest, and it’s a great sign, says Coley.
“They might say something like, ‘What do you think?’” she says. “If you’re interested, connect your background with the job. When you repeat what you’ve learned in the interview and how it best aligns to their job description, you reinforce the great connection you’re making.”
If the interviewer asks if you’re interviewing anywhere else or if you’ve been offered other opportunities, it’s a sign they want to know where they stand, says Coley.
“They’re getting an idea of how active you are in the interview process,” she says. “Are you starting your search? Testing the waters? Or do you have other solid opportunities? This question helps them know if they need to step up their hiring pace so they don’t lose you.”
While the conversation in an interview is meant to be about your experience, sometimes the interviewer asks questions to get to know you on a more personal level.
“If the conversation turns to personal bonding, it’s often a sign that they are seriously considering you,” says Weinlick. “If they didn’t feel you were a potential fit, they wouldn’t waste valuable time chatting.”
This is a subtle sign, says Coley, but it indicates that they’re picturing you joining their organization.
“When a person is referencing you, they’re making a connection,” she says. “They’re already envisioning working with you, and by using your name they’re trying to engage you.”
You know an interview is going well when the interviewer starts to introduce you to people who weren’t on the schedule, says Weinlick.
“If they have the president or a senior executive drop in to say ‘hi,’ you hit a home run,” he says. “They wouldn’t waste other people’s time if they didn’t think you were a potential finalist.”
References usually don’t come out until the stage where there is interest, says Coley, and if they’re requested during a first interview, it’s a good sign.
“Candidates are often confidentially looking and don’t want people getting called unnecessarily,” she says. “When they ask for references, they’re interested in moving to the next step.”
Managers schedule interviews in between their other work responsibilities. If your interview goes long, consider that a positive sign, says Weinlick.
“When interviews run long, it means they were so interested in what you had to say that they forgot their other priorities and wanted to talk longer,” he says.
While some companies operate on strict hiring timelines, most are focused on finding the right person even if it takes longer. If an HR professional ends the interview and tells you when you can expect to hear back, it’s a good sign, says Weinlick.
“If they give you a firm date, it may mean they’re interested, and that you’re one of the candidates they’re considering,” he says.
While handing out a card is business etiquette, Coley says welcoming you to call or phone is a good sign.
“When they hand you a card and say ‘My cell number and email are on this, contact me with questions,’ they’re making sure you’re engaged,” she says. “When they invite you to follow up, it’s a great sign.”