We talk to candidates following interviews every day. It’ll come as no surprise that the number one anxiety post interview is “did they like me?”.
It’s human nature to be super critical of every last detail and to dwell on that one answer you gave that (in your head) wasn’t quite perfect. Or that momentary awkward silence. Or the thing you wished you’d said/asked, but didn’t.
The reality is, in the majority of cases, these aren’t the details that interviewers will be discussing when you’ve left the room. It’s always about the bigger picture; hiring managers are never expecting someone to be 100% perfect. No-one ever is.
The post interview conversations are far more likely to centre on these key areas:
1. Are they excited about the opportunity?
Interviewers are looking to understand whether you really care about the job. Skills, experience, an ability to do the job and preparation ahead of the interview are of course crucial, but it’s often not the best qualified candidate that gets the job. Why? Because hiring managers are looking to establish that you genuinely want the role and whether that spark and enthusiasm came across. This manifests itself in different ways depending on the role you’re interviewing for, but hiring managers will be quick to pick up on signals, from tone, to body language, to interest in a project the company delivered. They want to know you’re not just going through the motions and looking for a pay cheque, wherever it may come from. And they want to know that you will enjoy the role.
2. Will they ‘fit’?
Every company culture is different and interviewers will have an acute awareness of the types of characters that are likely to fit well within their business. It’s almost impossible for candidates to prepare for this, but it’s a crucial part of the decision making process for hiring managers. They’re looking to ascertain whether they can see you gelling with the core people you’ll be working with day-to-day, whether you have a similar set of core values and whether they can see you progressing within the company.
3. What would we like to explore further?
No matter how well an interview has gone, hiring managers will more often than not discuss what areas they’re keen to explore in more detail at the next stage. This may include things such as who else you should meet, delving further in to how you approach tasks, or how you develop relationships for example. These conversations help shape the format of the next meeting and the next steps in the process.
Always remember that hiring managers are willing you to do well when you walk in to the room; they want to recruit the best people as much as you want to secure the best job. Unless it’s been an unmitigated disaster of an interview (which you’d already be aware of) their post interview conversations are therefore much likely to focus on the above areas, rather than dwelling on the small stuff you may be worrying about. So next time you go in to an interview, bear this in mind – you may find it helps you relax and enjoy the meeting that bit more.
As an aside, a quick follow up note to the people you met always helps reinforce your interest in the role and their perceptions of you as a potential employee. Which brings us back to point one...