How to Know If an Interview Was Successful

If you’re not feeling confident that gut feeling is enough to gauge how to know if an interview was successful, then reading this post may help!

The limbo period following an interview can be nerve-wracking, especially if you aren’t sure how you did.

In this post, we will give you some tips on how to recognise if your interview went well to put you at ease. 

What if I did badly?

If, after reading this post, you feel you didn’t achieve many of the positive signs, don’t fret about it. At least you can prepare yourself for possible rejection. It may also be an indicator the job isn’t right for you.

Use this opportunity as interview practice and reflect on where you may have performed poorly to improve next time.

And remember- don’t let a bad interview experience put you off of continuing your search for your job. You should feel motivated and strengthened from lessons learnt to pick yourself back up and get back out there!

Otherwise, consider this! Are you the type of person who continuously doubts yourself? Your judgement in determining the success of your interview may not be trustworthy. Try to focus on being objective when reflecting on your interview answers and the interviewer's response. Try to remove your own emotion attached and look at your experience from an outside perspective. 

Where you're interviewing matters too

Outlined below are some generic and classic signs on how to determine a successful interview. Note that this will vary across the industry and the type of business you’re applying to.

For example, small startup companies are more than likely to be a little informal- especially if it’s a small team. You’ll likely get a more personal experience.

A large corporate organisation is going to have a much more formal process. You’re likely not going to receive the same level of personal engagement within this type of firm.

Consider where you are applying for a job and weigh this up, along with your gut feeling, to figure out if your interview was successful.

Signs your interview went well!

Sometimes it's obvious when you’ve impressed an interviewer, but other times not so much. Let's look at some tell-tale signs below that you’re in for serious consideration for the role.

1.   A longer interview

33% of recruiters know if they’ll hire someone or not within the first 30 seconds of the interview!

You’ll usually be informed about how long an interview will take. If you were in the interview much longer than the stated time, then it’s a sign your recruiter was engaged with you and wanted to know more.

You have to consider that recruiters' time is usually limited for interviews as they typically need to meet with multiple candidates, which takes up a considerable amount of time overall.

Spending excess time to talk with you is a great sign that things are going well, and it suggests that they are interested in finding out more about you. It would help if you took this as a positive sign that you may be a strong candidate for the position.

Contrary to this, if your interview was significantly shorter than you expected (by 30 minutes or more), then this is a possible sign that the recruiter decided in their mind early on in the interview that you’re not a great fit for the role. If this happened to you, it’s possible you gave poor first impressions, and the recruiter tried to finish the interview as quickly as possible. Did you know a  huge 50% of recruiters judge candidates on how they dress and hold themselves and decide on these factors to turn them down for a role?

Otherwise, you may have even answered questions too quickly and not supplied enough real-life examples to support your answers. This can be another reason for interviews being over far too quickly.

2.   Spoke like you had the role already

Sometimes interviewers can already see you as a perfect fit for the role and talk to you in absolutes. (It would be weird if they did this and thought you were an unsuitable candidate!) if the recruiter speaks to you like you have the role already, it’s pretty much a given you’ve got the job.

So if they use language like, “When you start, you’ll be doing this..” or “You’ll be working with..” etc.

This suggests the interviewer can already envision you in the role, and they are trying to get you to envision yourself in the position.

If the interviewer depersonalised the role by using wording such as “the candidate” or “someone in the role would do so and so …” they could be detaching you from the role as they may not see you as a good fit. Or they possibly are keeping the interview formal and not giving away any indications on how they see you as a candidate. This is likely typical communication from a larger organisation that has to run through HR checks and references before divulging any indication of a successful interview.

3.   The interviewer tried to sell the company to you

If the interviewer tried to sell the company to you, you know you’ve got the job in the bag!

Signs that the recruiter is selling you the job can include the job's perks, company benefits, how nice other employees are, how nice the environment is to work in, etc.

Especially if the recruiter linked the role back to you and how it matches your skills and interests. This is a great sign they want to make the role work for you and not just any old candidate.

If you experienced a recruiter selling you the company and convincing you it's a great place to work, then you can be confident they are taking you as a serious candidate for the role.

Most people- even recruiters, sometimes forget that an interview is a two-way process. While the recruiter is interviewing you for the role, you should also use this opportunity to see if the company, environment, culture, and staff are the right fit.

If a recruiter asks you if you have any questions, you should use this as an opportunity to see if the job is right for you. Ask the recruiter what it is like to work for the company. Depending on their response, you can gauge if they think you’re suitable for the role.

Note that they are likely trying to spark your interest if they give a detailed and convincing response. If they quickly list some responses without much effort, they may not want to waste time selling you a role they already decided you won’t get.

4.   You were given a company tour

If the interviewer took the time to take you around the company, they were likely trying to sell you the role. Linking back to the sign above.

If you were asked what you thought of the company at some point during the interview, it's a good indication that the recruiter is trying to gauge if you’re interested in accepting the role. They may even be so direct to ask where else you are interviewing. If this happened, they are certainly considering you for the position and maybe worried you have a better offer elsewhere.

5.   Job specifics were spoken about

If your interviewer discussed your particular expertise and envisioned with you how you would use it on future projects, developments, and company plans, then you’re probably a top contender for the position. 

It’s not likely that an interviewer would go into the intimate details of the role if you weren’t a serious candidate for the role. As mentioned above, the interviewer is likely envisioning you in the role and wants to check with you about your capability to take on the role.

6.   You were introduced to the wider team

If you met the wider team, this could be either a tactic to get team feedback on the first impressions of you. Or otherwise, as a way to sell you the role.

The good news is, if the recruiter is using the wider team to give them feedback on you, you’ve likely impressed the recruiter, and you’re a strong candidate.

More importantly, if you met a more senior staff member such as a director or executive, it’s likely they’ll need to sign off on the role, and your recruiter is trying to speed up the process to get you to meet them sooner.

7.   You built rapport with interviewer

Did you feel you had a great back and forth conversation with the recruiter? Did they give you positive affirmations, mimic your body language, or even laugh with you and have banter?

If a recruiter asked you more personal questions that link to your interests and hobbies, it could be a great sign they like you and want to get to know you more on a personal level. Asking about interests is a great way to determine if you’ll fit within the company culture.

This is a good sign you developed a good rapport with your recruiter and a great way to get a gut feeling on whether the interview was successful.

How to tell you built a good rapport:

  • Your interview was quite relaxed
  • You found it easy to talk to the interviewer
  • They used your name a lot
  • They laughed with you
  • They gave positive responses to your answers such as “that’s amazing”, “great answer”, “that’s exactly right”

A bad rapport typically includes:

  • Awkward silences after your answers suggesting no conversational flow
  • They seemed disinterested in your answers
  • They cut over you mid-speaking
  • Yawning excessively
  • Looking at the time

8.   Salary is discussed

If a conversation on your potential salary within the role pops up, then you can almost guarantee you’ve got the role.

Recruiters typically don’t divulge into the salary unless you’re a serious contender. They may ask you about your salary expectations, past salary, or current salary.

9.   A start date is discussed

You may have even been asked when can you start! If you were asked this, then it’s a good indication you may be a serious candidate. Your answer could even be the deciding factor between you and another candidate.

There is a way to determine if this question was an indication of having a successful interview due to the way they asked it. For example, if they ask about your start date, followed by your availability, they want to work with you about when you can start.

If you get asked the question but moving quickly onto other generic questions, they could be going through the motions following the interview question list.

10. You’re invited to the second round of interviews

Congratulations, this is certainly a sign your interview was successful.

Making it through to the second wave of interviews is a great achievement, and well done.

Be mindful that the second round of interviews could mean other candidates also have this opportunity.

Take the same preparation going into the second interview as you did the first. They like you, so don’t let nerves or doubts get in the way.

How to know if an interview was successful?

We hope this post has helped with how to know if an interview was successful.

If you experienced one or some positive interview signs above, try to relax a little while you wait for your interview result.

If you don’t get the position, but you did achieve some of the signs above, don’t let it knock your confidence. It’s an indication that you did a fantastic job. It’s just another candidate who did it better.

If you didn’t experience any of the positive interview signs above, bear in mind that some recruiters don’t give anything away as part of their professional persona. But in all cases, try to be realistic when you reflect on your answers.

We will soon write a post on how to give good interview answers. In the meantime, check out our post on the 10 steps of the hiring process.

See you next time!

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