Most people walk out of a job interview feeling one of two ways: like they definitely nailed it, or like they completely bombed.
If you ever find yourself in the latter group, you’ll probably spend the hours and days following the interview over-thinking every response you gave and every gesture you made, wondering how the hiring manager felt about them.
But things don’t have to be a complete mystery in the time between when you walk out of the interview and when you hear whether or not you got the job.
According to career experts, there are some telltale signs to look for in the interview (and in the days following) that can help you figure out whether a job offer could be coming your way.
Here are 11 signs to look out for that don’t necessarily guarantee a job offer is in the cards, but are pretty promising:
1. Your interviewer was very smiley
Okay, you may have given a few lame answers, or froze when the interviewer tossed a brainteaser your way, but if the hiring manager was smiling and nodding a lot, this could be a really good sign.
Sure, they could have just been nodding and smiling because they are friendly, but if you notice a friendly and warm demeanor, things might be going your way.
Nodding, for instance, indicates the interviewer is listening to you intently – and is genuinely interested in what you have to say – which are good indications you’re on the right track.
2. They asked a lot of personal questions about your family, personal goals, and hobbies
No, they weren’t grilling you because they thought you were the worst. Stop being so paranoid!
“Showing an interest in your personal life means they’re seriously considering you, as it demonstrates an interest beyond just the professional résumé,” says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “The Humor Advantage.”
But remember that you don’t always have to answer personal questions. Some are illegal.
3. The interview ran over the designated time
When you’re in the hot seat and things aren’t going as swimmingly as you’d like, it may feel like the interview is going on forever. But if you look at the clock and realize that’s because it did go over the 30-minute block, this could be a very good thing.
It may mean the employer wants to continue getting to know you a little better, says Amber Cloke, an academic adviser at Ithaca College. “You’ve likely already passed the initial criteria they were seeking, and the fact that they continue investing more time and energy toward you can be promising.”
4. The interviewer tried to sell you on the company
At some point in the interview, the hiring manager stopped asking questions and started talking your ear off. You may have been thinking, Oh no. They’re done with me … they have nothing else to ask!
But stop freaking out and think about what they were saying.
Were they making a conscious effort to talk up the company? That’s a great sign they’re impressed with you and trying to sway you towards the position.
“You may be able to tell that your interview has gone well by how much the recruiter ‘sells’ the role and/or the organization,” says Dale Austin, director of the Career Development Center at Hope College. “If the recruiter spends a lot of time doing the talking, that may be one indicator that the organization is very interested in your candidacy.”
5. The interviewer talked a lot about perks, benefits, policies, and pay
This may have been part of their “sales tactic,” and it’s another positive sign.
If and when an interviewer starts discussing company policies and benefits – and even gets into a serious discussion about pay – there’s a good chance they’re planning to make an offer. They most likely wouldn’t waste their time voluntarily sharing all this information if they weren’t interested in you.
6. Your interviewer showed you around the office before you left
No matter how badly you thought you bombed, an office tour can give you some hope.
If the hiring manager takes the extra time to show you around the office or introduces you to employees before you head out, that could mean they’re thinking about offering you the role.
“Most interviewers will give you an idea of what the schedule will look like ahead of time,” says Cloke. “If, at the end of the interview, the employer unexpectedly offers to introduce you to the rest of the team, it could bode well for you.”
7. They said ‘you will’ rather than ‘you would’
If you spent the whole interview overthinking the weak handshake you gave at the very beginning of the interview, or the awkward moment you sat in the wrong chair in the hiring manager’s office, you may not have noticed some very subtle signs that they were actually really impressed with you.
For instance, if the interviewer shifted from a hypothetical tone to a presumptive one, this is a very good sign.
Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert, leadership coach, and author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” says this may mean they’re already be envisioning you at the company.
8. The interviewer asked for a list of references
No, this doesn’t mean they didn’t believe something you said and want to confirm their suspicions.
Well, it could mean that … but it probably doesn’t.
When the interviewer asks for references, it typically means they’re seriously considering you for the role.
Checking references is often the last step before an employer offers a candidate the job. So, you should stop feeling sorry for yourself and start feeling excited.
9. The follow-up process was pointedly discussed
On your way out, you’re feeling pretty badly about how things went. But then the hiring manager enthusiastically brings up the next step in the hiring process without you even asking.
This is a clear indicator you’re still in the running for the open role. Unless, of course, it’s just a generic: “We”ll be in touch soon.”
“If an interviewer is interested in a candidate, they may even ask when you’d like to or need to have their decision by,” said Kevin Hewerdine, director of Career Services and Employer Relations at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. “They won’t let you leave without knowing what your timeline looks like.”
10. You’re asked to come in for an additional round of interviews
You may be just one of a handful of finalists, but if you’ve been asked to return for a second round of interviews, that’s an encouraging sign that you’re a serious contender, says Taylor. “They want to clinch the decision by building consensus among managers.”
11. There was a lingering goodbye
If they disliked you as much as you’re worried they did, the hiring manager would probably try to get rid of you as quickly as possible. But if they seem to go on and on, continue asking questions or selling you on the company as you’re saying your goodbyes, you probably made a great impression.
Okay, maybe the hiring manager is just super talkative – but if they linger as they walk with you toward the main lobby or escort you out the door, this could be a very good sign.
Matthew Randall, executive director of the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania, says: “Typically, interviewers unconsciously do this because they feel comfortable with you being a strong candidate and know that, since this relationship may continue in the future, they want to spend a few more moments to strengthen their professional rapport.”
Hope Restle contributed to a previous version of this story.