I found the question “how do I know if my job interview went well” in a search phrase on my stats. So how can you tell a good interview from a bad one? Although you usually have some feeling about how you did, truth is you really don’t know how you did or even if the interview went well until you get the good-news call. Or the not-so-good-news silence and then rejection letter – if you’re lucky enough to get that.
Even if it went well, you still might not get the call-back or the job. The final decision is all about fit and of course depends on the other candidates. Sometimes there are a few really good candidates and, even if they loved you, you might not get the job. I’ve interviewed people I really liked, but knew enough about the particular job and personality of the place to know they just weren’t right for it.
I know that doesn’t feel great, but I hope it lets you know that a rejection doesn’t always reflect on you or how you interviewed. It’s like dating. There are great people out there who just aren’t right for you. In some cases, it may even be a blessing!
But then again, usually if the interview goes well you will get that call back. So how can you really tell how you did?
Here are some cues that might at least give you some sense of how the job interview went:
- Are they leaning in toward you with enthusiasm?
- Did they show a good deal of open body language? (In contrast to them being kind of closed down, with arms close to the body and not relaxed.)
- Did you notice that the position of their hands or body in some way matched yours? (This sometimes happens and shows a feeling of being in synch.)
- Were they smiling and nodding as you spoke – even if it was barely perceptible?
- Did the interview go longer than 20 minutes?
- Did they follow up on things you said or just stick to a script? (Some places require the script, so this only helps for places that don’t.)
- Did you ever hear them say things like “when you are working here” or “you’ll see for yourself”?
- Did they ask you about how soon you could start? If so, how was it phrased? If it was just a standard interview question, it would have been quickly delivered. If it’s about real interest, there might be follow-up questions or comments.
- If they asked you whether you had any last questions, did they say it with a smile leaning in toward you with real interest or at least showing open body language?
- Did they tell you you’ll hear from them soon?
- Did you feel a real connection?
The more “yes” answers, the better it went. But it’s not a for-sure negative if the answers were mostly “no”. Different places have different interview styles. And as I already said, there’s also no absolute guarantee even if every answer is a “yes” and you left feeling great.
Be aware but stay in the moment!
Now here’s the most important thing…if you are consciously noticing each and every one of these things during the interview, then for goodness sake…stop yourself! You aren’t in the moment if you’re thinking about how it’s going. And it will show. It’s good to be aware enough to try to make adjustments as you go along, but for the most part, just do your best to relax and be yourself. Focus completely on the interviewer’s questions and how open and honest YOU can be. Afterward, check your own instincts for how you think it went. You’ll probably have a good idea.
But since you can never know what they want or what type of person they want (you’d be amazed at how different employers can be in what they think makes a good match), your best bet is to just breathe a deep sigh of relief after you leave the interview, congratulate yourself on doing the best you could, and then just get on with enjoying your life. You’ve done all you can. (Once you’ve sent the polite thank-you notes, of course.)
If it’s a good fit, they’ll call you. If not, you lucked out. Hopefully the next one will be the one. Or the next. It will happen!
Go to www.TADPGS.com, click on the “Looking for People” tab, then view “Veterans Solutions” to see more for information on our Veterans Solutions for Employers. Please join our LinkedIn group, Veterans Hiring Solutions for Veterans and Companies at http://linkd.in/Sg346w. If you have specific questions about hiring veterans or the incentives for doing so, contact me at [email protected].
Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, Career Nook and on Google+.