1. They talked about salary
When the hiring managers ask you about your salary expectations, or when they describe the salary structure and employee benefits while talking to you, especially at the end of the interview, it is always a sign that things went well. They have no reason to discuss such things with you unless they realistically consider giving you the job.
Now, a better candidate could still come after you, and you might end up a second best on their list. But if they discussed salary with you and perhaps did it in great detail, it is a clear indication that in a moment of ending your interview, they seriously considered you as the best candidate for the position (or one of the best).
On the other hand, if there is not a single mention of your wage, or shift patterns, or employee benefits (health insurance etc), it is typically as sign that your interview did not go particularly well.
2. They mentioned the next steps of the recruitment process
Asking about next steps of the recruitment process is actually one of the good questions you can ask at the end of your interview. When they talk about the next steps without you asking, however, it is a clear sign that your interview went well. Again, they have no reason to talk about these things unless they want to see you in the next round of the interviews, or perhaps already in their team.
You can also use this interview question (“What are the next steps of the recruitment process?”) to assess how well your interview went, while still talking to the hiring managers.
If they are reluctant to answer the question, or just say something very briefly, or politely respond that they’ll call you and let you know the next steps, it’s an indication that you did not do well, and they do not plan to proceed with your job application any further.
3. A warm farewell, firm handshake
The parting, the words they say to you, and the handshake they give you tells a lot about how the interview went, and whether they see a new colleague in you.
Do they keep an eye contact with you, or do they avert their glance? How long do they hold your hand? Is the handshake firm enough, or a mere formality, something they’d prefer to skip if it wasn’t considered impolite? Are they blabbering something about seeing you again, or do they just say thank you, and goodbye?
All these things indicate a lot about whether your interview went well or badly. Try to recall the atmosphere at the end of the interview, and what exactly happened in the room before you left. You can easily assess your chances in this way.
4. They asked you a lot of questions (or no questions at all)
Unless you apply for some special job, or interview in some shady business, you won’t be the only applicant. Hiring managers have prepared a template for the interviews, and they know how many questions they want to ask you, and everyone else who tries to get the job.
It is important for them to ask all questions, in order to compare your answers with the answers of other applicants, and choose the winner at the end, the best candidate for the job. Sometimes you will even see the list of question on a table in front of them, though likely it will be on the screen of their laptop.
If the interview takes as long as advertised (typically they will tell you upfront how long you’ll be in the company), this is definitely a good sign. If it takes even longer, and they ask you many additional questions (following your answers), it is even a better sign.
On the other hand, if they interrupt the interview after some question which certainly and logically wasn’t the last one on their template, they have likely come to a showstopper in one of your answers, and it makes no sense for them to continue with other questions.
There is one exception to this rule. If you have a superbly relevant experience for the job, they may end an interview soon after you walk them through your resume. In some cases it may be enough for them to offer you a job, or let you progress to the next round of interviews.
5. They gave you (or will give you) a call on the very same day
Sending an email is a formality, something a good recruiter or hiring manager should always do–thanking you for attending an interview, and perhaps even letting you know what’s next-likely nothing :).
If they call you however, and especially on the same day, perhaps to ask some additional questions, or discuss the salary or invite you for another round of interviews, this is definitely a sign that your interview went well.
Nobody likes tough conversations. When I led interviews, I sometimes called also unsuccessful applicants (especially the one who ended second best), but I really do not know many people who did this.
Recruiters and hiring managers try to avoid unpleasant conversations. If they do not want to hire you, they will typically just send an email (or they will ghost you). It’s not professional from their side, but that’s how things go in the business… Not getting any call from them 48 hours after your interview is definitely a bad sign…
6. There were some jokes and the people seemed to feel at ease with you
At the end of the day, even the most experienced HR manager or recruiter is a human being. They enjoy to spend time with people who think on the same wavelength, people they have something in common with, people it is a pleasure to talk to and be with.
If you managed to connect with the interviewers, on a rather personal level, and perhaps even discussed hobbies and stuff, it is definitely a sign that the interview went well. Whether we admit it or not, personal preference play some role in each hiring process. If they like you, if they feel good around you, the chances are better that they will hire you.
On the contrary, if the interview resembled an interrogation in prison, if people in the interviewing panel wore poker faces and everything was extremely formal, including the end of the interview, it’s not a good sign, and they will likely not call you again.
7. They introduced you to some team members
Unless you apply for a job of a lighthouse keeper, or a geologist, or some work from home opportunity, you’ll share the workplace with other people, your colleagues.
These people may have their say in the final decision of the hiring managers, but they won’t be introduced to all job applicants. Just a few best (shortlisted) candidates will get an opportunity to meet the people they’d work with in the new job.
If the hiring managers introduce you to some people, or even take you around the company, showing you different places such as the production plant, offices, canteen, etc, it is definitely a good sign. Of course if you get a chance to talk to some people from the company, you should try to make the best possible impression on them. Ask questions and show interest in the job. If they ask you anything, try to answer their questions honestly, and be yourself.
Introducing you some people from the company is definitely a sign that your interview went well. When they do not introduce you to anyone, however, it doesn’t mean that things went badly and you have to forget about the opportunity. In some companies it is simply not a common practice to introduce job applicants to anyone, before they are hired for the position…
Conclusion, next steps
At the end of the day, it does not make much sense to stress about the interview once it is over, wondering whether it went well, or you did horribly. You will find out when they call you, or when they ghost you :).
You can always try to do one more step towards the new job contract, sending a short follow up email, or making a follow up call. And if your nerves continue to bother you, have a look at our guide on How to overcome interview nerves. I wish you good luck in your job search!
May also help you succeed:
- 15 most common interview questions and answers – Learn how to answer the most common questions and avoid any setbacks in your next interview.