The Secret Language of Interviewers

You’ve finished the interview and now you’re waiting for the employer to call.  You are beginning to wonder whether or not the interviewer liked you. Of course interviewers can’t come out and tell you that you’re a serious candidate for the job, but if you pay close attention, it is possible to read between the lines and get an idea of what the employer might be thinking.  Here are some comments that employers often make and the thought processes behind them:

 “In this job, you would be doing this and this…”

They said that YOU would being doing this and this.  Could that mean that they are already picturing you as the person doing the job?  Unfortunately, it is just a lot easier than saying “the incumbent would be doing this and this…” and there is a good chance that it means nothing at all.

“We are interviewing a lot of people for this role.  We will contact you if we wish to meet you for a second interview.” 

It is not a good sign if the employer seems to be emphasizing that there are a lot of candidates being interviewed.  They may be cushioning you for the blow of not being selected for a second interview.  Also, if they are clearly communicating that they will call you if you’re selected, it could mean that they don’t want to receive a lot of follow up calls.  However, don’t let that stop you from following up once about a week or two after the interview.  

“I am concerned about…”

The employer may express the concerns that they have about you in a variety of ways.  They could ask a lot of questions around one particular issue, or they may directly tell you what worries them.  The reality is that if you don’t adequately address their concerns, they will not hire you.  

“We think that you’re an amazing candidate and we expect to be seeing you again.”

While this is definitely positive feedback, it does not necessarily mean that you will get the job, or even a second interview.  A comment like this means that the employer is excited about you, but they aren’t yet in the position to make a decision.  The interviewer may first have to consult with other people, or they could still have additional candidates to meetBy the time the employer is ready to hire, they may have met another applicant that is even more suited to the role.  Also, even if the interviewer wants to hire you, they could be blocked by somebody else that is weighing in on the decision.  The reality is, you don’t have the job until you have a written offer in hand.

“When would you be able to start?”  

This could be a question that the employer is asking every candidate or it could be an indication that they are serious about hiring you.  Pay attention to the way that the employer acts when you answer this question.  Did the interviewer seem interested in your answer or did he just write it down and move on?

Trying to read the interviewer’s mind is tricky.  Since everyone communicates in their own way, two employers may make the same statement, but mean something completely different.  Try not to spend too much time analyzing the employer’s words.  Instead, stay focused on your job search and you may end up finding an even better opportunity.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)


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