By Áine Cain
Business Insider, March 21, 2018 —
Job offers can be an ideal stepping stone to better opportunities and a brighter future.
They’re also a nice ego boost. But they’re pretty stressful to wait on.
Maybe you’re relatively sure you aced the interview and felt like you were walking on air as you left the lobby. But now, hours seem like days and days like weeks as you wait patiently for a formal offer.
“Fortunately, you can put some of the puzzle pieces together as you decide your course of action during this uncertain waiting game,” Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” told Business Insider.
Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “The Humor Advantage,” agreed.
“While you can never be certain, and you definitely don’t want to get your hopes up prematurely, there are certainly signs that might hint that you’re about to get some good news,” he told Business Insider.
• Job offers are tricky — you never want to get your hopes up too much.
• At the same time, there are a number of subtle signs that good news will be coming your way soon.
• From an extended interview to early salary negotiations, here’s what to watch out for.
You’re asked to come in for an additional round of interviews
You may be 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,” Taylor said. “They want to clinch the decision by building consensus among managers.”
The hiring manager tries ‘selling’ you on the company
A shift from a barrage of questions to a marketing mode is a great sign they want to hire you, Taylor said.
They ask you a lot of personal questions about your family, personal goals, and hobbies
“Showing an interest in your personal life means they’re seriously considering you, as it demonstrates an interest beyond just the professional résumé,” Kerr said.
But remember you don’t always have to answer personal questions. Some are illegal.
The interviewer nods and smiles a lot during the interview
They could just be friendly — but if you notice a friendly and warm demeanor, it could be a good sign.
“It may mean they’re comfortable around you and seemed to enjoy the time,” said Taylor.
Nodding can also suggest a genuine interest in what you’re saying.
Your interview is extended
Did the conversation go way over the amount of time they scheduled? Did the interviewer invite you to continue the discussion over lunch or coffee?
If so, you may have it in the bag.
“Most interviewers make up their mind, whether they admit it or not, within the first few minutes and so those candidates that they know they will pass on will definitely get a quicker interview,” Kerr explained.
They start to negotiate compensation
This is a great indicator you’ll be getting a formal offer, said Taylor. “Salary and benefits are usually only with serious contenders.”
The employer asks for references and or tells you they’ll be conducting a background check
“This is an obvious sign that at the very least you are in the running, as interviewers will only check into references for serious candidates that are in contention,” Kerr said.
Taylor explained that not all companies will inform you that they’re going to contact your references or start the background checking process, but others will. And it’s a good sign if they do.
“These are among the last steps before presenting you with an offer,” she said.
They say ‘you will’ rather than ‘you would’
“Did they shift from a hypothetical tone to a presumptive one?” Taylor said. “If so, it means they could already envision you at the company.”
The company starts a discussion about start dates
“This is really more of a formality and it would likely be combined with another final discussion,” said Taylor. “But it bodes well for your future employment with the firm.”
If you heard, “We want to have a person in place by X date,” that’s good news.
“Most employers won’t divulge that unless they’re very interested because they don’t want to be deluged with follow-up inquiries,” Taylor said.
They introduce you to other managers and peers and give you an office tour
This is definitely not a courtesy they’d extend to everyone, said Kerr.
“They probably wouldn’t introduce you to others if they didn’t think you could fit the bill,” added Taylor. “They most likely prepped some people to share their positive experiences.”
Also, when a hiring manager shows you around, they’re in a selling mode.
“They are proud of their environment and want you to be impressed,” she said.
You’re asked about your interview status
Did the hiring manager ask you about other firms you’re interviewing with, or try to sell you on why they’re a better choice? These are good indicators that they’re pursuing you, Taylor explained.
“This can indicate that not only are they seriously considering you, they are concerned they might lose you to someone else and will need to make an offer sooner rather than later,” added Kerr.
You find out the company has checked references
“Assuming the employer was able to get more than the basics about you from a prior boss or other reference, you might be fortunate enough to hear back from your reference,” said Taylor. “In that case, you’re very, very close.”
Your interviewer asks how you can best be reached
If the hiring manager asked you this, it could mean that they will call you. It also could be a formality, so don’t read too much into it, Taylor said.
You’re an intern who’s taken on a number of additional responsibilities
TopResume career expert Amanda Augustine A told Business Insider that it’s important for interns looking for a full-time offer to demonstrate that they’re capable of more than busy work.
If you’ve already done this, it’s a good omen.
“If your role has evolved and you’re taking on greater responsibility, it’s a sign you’ve proven your value to your boss and can be trusted to handle bigger projects,” Augustine said. “While this doesn’t guarantee a full-time job offer upon graduation, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.”
You have a good gut feeling
Do you have a really good feeling about this? Maybe you’re just being positive and overly confident — or maybe it’s because you will be getting an offer.
Jacquelyn Smith contributed to a previous version of this article.