You’ve crafted the perfect résumé and accompanying cover letter; you’ve provided glowing references; you’ve impressed the hiring manager with your skills and experience; in fact, you aced the interview. So, why can’t you shake this feeling that something went horribly wrong?
The truth is that no matter how much of a good candidate you are for the job on offer (you might even be the crème de la crème) or how well you perform in an interview, job interviews don’t always go as planned. Sometimes, you could say or do the wrong thing without even noticing and, sometimes, it might not even be you; it could be the interviewer.
Interviewers are strange creatures, and it’s often difficult to tell what they’re thinking, but there are some signs to help you determine how you’re doing and whether you’ve landed the job or not.
1. You met with fewer people
All the interview details have been finalized long beforehand: what time it’s scheduled for, which meeting room it’s to be held in, and who’s participating. But if you walk into an interview room with just one interviewer when it was originally agreed that you would be interviewed by a team of hiring managers, it could mean that they’ve already made a decision about your candidacy. And it’s not likely a very good one.
2. Your interview was cut short
If your interview came to an abrupt end within mere minutes of its start, then that’s the most obvious sign if there ever was one. Of course, emergencies are an exception – you can’t really expect the interviewer to stay put and complete the interview when the whole building’s up in flames.
3. The interviewer was distracted
Most of us enjoy a game or two of Farm Heroes Saga, but it’s never a good idea to take out your phone and start matching strawberries during a job interview. This applies to both the interviewer and the interviewee.
If it seems that the interviewer would much rather be somewhere else doing something that wasn’t as torturous as interviewing you, you might want to come to terms with the fact that the interview will end much like a bad date does: one party tells the other that they’ll call them, but they both know that that’s just never going to happen.
You might as well pull out your own phone and start surfing the web with them.
4. The interviewer kept emphasising a skill set you don’t possess
If the interviewer keeps saying things like “You’ll be dealing with mostly French clients in this position” or “You’ll need to translate reports from French to English”, and haven’t the slightest idea of what bonjour even means, then you might as well show yourself out of the interview room. An interviewer who shows a special interest in a skill set that you don’t possess or have little experience in is very bad news for you as, to paraphrase Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: you are not the candidate they are looking for.
5. No next steps are mentioned
Well, you passed with flying colors and made a great impression on the hiring manager, but the interview ended with a simple: “Thank you for taking the time to come in”. Well, that’s not good now, is it?
What happens next? Should you expect a call from them? If so, when are the likely to call? If they have failed to mention the next steps of the hiring process or to ask about your availability, you could take the bull by its horns and say something like: “Thank you for your time. I’m very interested in this position – what will be the next step?” But if they keep trying to beat around the bush, it’s probably best you focus your job search on other opportunities.
6. You were offered career advice
The interview’s come to an end, and the hiring manager has taken it upon himself to offer you career advice. Being so supportive as to advise you on résumé formatting and interviewing techniques could indicate that they’re trying to soften the blow for the impending rejection e-mail in your inbox in a couple of hours.
The flipside is that you came in for a job interview and left with a free career coaching session.
Can you think of any other telltale signs you didn’t land the job? Perhaps you learned the hard way and have a few tips and tricks of your own that you’d like to share with those of us who are in the middle of a very long job search? Let us know in the comments section below!