Most employers interview several candidates for a single position. In a recent blog post, the nonprofit recruitment consultancy company TPP recommended employers interview at least three to five candidates in the first round of interviews and two to three in the second.
Although each interviewer has her own style, the over-arching concept is usually the same: They want to see how well you'd fit the job, goals and culture. They've already looked at your résumé, so most of the time they're not really looking to test your technical knowledge too thoroughly during the interview.
It's all about how well you present yourself.
With so many interviews lined up in a given week, managers often can't help but give off subtle signs they really like certain candidates. These signs usually mean that the odds are in your favor, according to several hiring managers and industry experts:
1. Detailed, hypothetical questions. Sometimes, the way they ask a question can be more telling than the question itself. According to Judi Perkins, the How-To career coach and president and founder of Find the Perfect Job, employers tend to be more hypothetical in their questions if they really want you to say yes. For instance, "the unconscious phrasing of the question 'Can you travel?' is pretty neutral," Perkins says.
Neutral is OK, but a more telling sign he's interested in you is if he asked how willing you are to travel. The more detailed he gets into this line of questioning, the better.
2. Conversational tone. This actually depends on the company culture, but most of the time, a conversational interview is a good sign. If the interview feels like you're shooting the breeze, chatting excitedly about your ideas and experiences and the tone feels very conversational versus being an interrogation, chances are you'd fit right into the culture. And the interviewer will definitely consider that extremely favorably. After all, we all want to work with people we like. Of course, some office environments are a little more structured, formal and stern – so don't feel like your interview didn't go well if it felt more formal.
3. Mirroring gestures. Pay attention to body language. Is your interviewer closed off, arms folded and completely distracted? This is a no-brainer; it's a bad sign. On the other hand, if he's mimicking your very subtle body language, then rest assured, he is entirely engaged with you. He's listening.
Vickie Austin, founder of the business, executive and career coaching company CHOICES Worldwide, says that this "mirroring" technique exudes interest. You should consider doing the same to show your own enthusiasm for the job. For instance, if the interviewer is leaning forward, then lean forward, Austin suggests. Just make sure it's not obvious.
4. Impromptu introductions. If an interviewer is really interested, many times he'll have you meet some of the people in your would-be department just to chat and introduce yourself.
Remember, though, that this is different than a routine walk-through of the office, where the hiring manager or someone from human resources shows you a bit of the office culture in a routine manner. This is a neutral, common occurrence. A more positive sign is when the introductions are more relevant and spontaneous. If "you're being led back to the reception area and are introduced to one or two people in passing for a 30-second chat in the middle of the hall," chances are you are a top contender, Austin says.
5. A definitive call-back date. This is the best sign that your potential employer is highly invested in you. Many times, a vague, "we'll call you" answer means they're unsure about their decision.
A definitive call-back date, however, means that you've earned the courtesy of a "yes" or "no." If you've experienced signs Nos. 1 through 5, chances are you're in.
Ritika Trikha is a writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews, and salary information.