There are a lot of articles online with long lists of signs you got the job, but I want to do something a little bit different here… mainly because most of those lists are misleading and will NOT help you.
Here’s why: They give a bunch of small, unimportant factors that barely correlate with whether you got the job or not…
And job seekers read those lists, see one or two positive signs that they may have gotten the job after their interview, and stop their job search efforts to wait.
That’s dangerous because it kills your momentum and puts all your hopes on one position and one job offer that may not come.
So in this article, I’m going to share a shorter list of reliable ways to know you got the job… without the small, unreliable factors.
Note: If you want to see those smaller factors, we do have a separate article about signs your interview went well/badly.
However, those aren’t ways to know you are getting a job offer! The difference is: An employer interviews a lot of people for each job and they may like a few people. They usually only hire one, though.
So here’s how to know if you got the job after the interview…
There are only a couple of reliable ways to know you’re getting the job offer after an interview. And the truth is: You shouldn’t stop applying until you reach #7 on the list below.
But all of the items below are important signs that you may be about to receive a job offer:
Usually when an employer asks to call your references, it’s a sign they’re interested in offering you the job. But only if it happens after an in-person interview!
If they ask on a first call, or if a recruiter asks before you’ve had an interview, it’s just a sign they’re going through formalities.
(And if a recruiter asks for references upfront, I recommend telling them you prefer to wait until you know the employer is interested, to save your references from having to take so many phone calls. I explain more in my guide to job references here.)
Like the sign above, this doesn’t mean much if they ask it in an early-stage interview.
However, if it’s the end of a second or third interview, or you went home after the interview and then they reach out to ask if you have other interviews or are expecting other job offers, it’s a great sign that they’re at least thinking about offering you the position.
This is one of the top signs you will get the job after an interview because if they didn’t want to hire you, they wouldn’t care which other employers you’re talking to.
Here is an article on how to answer “What other companies are you interviewing with?”
I don’t want to sound like a broken record here, but again – this sign is a lot stronger if it comes at the end of an in-person interview, or better yet – a separate conversation where a recruiter or hiring manager reaches back out to discuss your salary after you’ve met.
If it happens in a phone interview or an initial call with a recruiter, it’s not a signal that you will get the job. It just means that they like to ask about salary early on and they probably ask everyone.
Note: Here’s how to answer, “What is your desired salary?”
If you’re interviewing for a position and you notice the job is no longer posted online, or the listing says it’s no longer accepting applicants, then it’s a sign that you may be getting a job offer soon. However, it could be a sign that they’re offering the job to someone else, too.
Or, it at least indicates that they’ve got a good batch of people who they’re excited about.
It’s a positive sign overall since it means they’re not looking for new candidates, but employers usually interview many people for each job so it’s not a guarantee.
Also, FYI – if you are interviewing for a job and the employer reposts the position online, don’t panic. There are many reasons an employer could re-post the job.
They could have multiple openings to fill, for example.
If you have concerns after seeing the job reposted, you could always ask in your next interview, “Is this a single opening? Or are you hoping to hire multiple people?”
That’s a good interview question to ask anyway; it provides some useful information about their hiring process and what they’re doing at a broader level.
One of my favorite tips for getting hired is to find companies that are hiring multiple people for a role. If you can do this, then you don’t have to be nearly as good to get the job offer! I did this myself to land my first job as a recruiter with no industry experience.
Many interviewers keep a straight face and don’t try to make a decision until after the interview.
However, occasionally, you’ll get an interviewer who is visibly excited about you, says they think you’d be a great fit, starts asking if the job sounds like something you’d want, etc.
And if that happens, it’s a good way to know that you’re likely to get the job!
But it’s still not guaranteed. Some interviewers are just overly-friendly in general. And since you’ve probably never met this person before, it can be difficult to judge.
So take it as a positive sign if this happens in your interview, but also keep applying until you see one of the “stronger” signs coming up on this list.
The next 2 items on the list are the best ways to tell if you got the job because they’re the most reliable…
When job seekers ask me, “how do you know if you got the job?” I briefly mention the signs above, but the truth is: The only real way to know is when an employer tells you that they’re extending you an offer.
After your interview, a hiring manager or HR person would call you, congratulate you, and tell you that the company would like to offer you the position.
They’ll typically confirm the job title and the salary they’re prepared to offer, and then you have a chance to respond.
Things interviewers will say when you got the job:
I know it’s hard to wait for this, and it’s tempting to look for smaller hints ahead of time, but the truth is: You can’t know that you’re getting the job until you get a verbal job offer.
Finally, the time to breathe a sigh of relief and know 100% that you got the job is when the written offer comes in the mail! The employer may ask you to sign it and mail it back, or they may ask you to bring it on your first day of work.
From here, you want to confirm a start date if you haven’t already, and then it’s time to relax and celebrate!
(Or you can decline the job offer if you’re accepting a different one. Here’s how to decline an offer.)
You now know the top signs you got the job, but the truth is: Only #6 and #7 on the list above are truly reliable.
I’m not sharing this to dampen your mood! It’s great to see one or more of the positive signs above and you have every right to be excited and optimistic! But it’s dangerous to wait around for one company instead of continuing to apply for positions!
Employers don’t just interview one candidate; they interview many… because they know you might change your mind, you might become unavailable, accept another position, etc.
You need to assume the same about them…
Employers put positions on hold. They change their job requirements. They go through hiring freezes.
The point is: You shouldn’t stop applying for jobs until you’ve accepted a job offer in writing and have a start date for your new position.
It’s risky to take one or two small signals (like a smile from the interviewer) as signs you will get the job because the interviewer might treat everyone that way.
And it’s better to have two or three job offers and get to choose the best one rather than waiting desperately for one job and feeling anxious.
So review the list above, use it to measure how likely you are to receive job offers, but keep applying at the same time! That will put you in the best possible position to succeed in your job search.
Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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