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Applying for a job and the subsequent interview usually feels like an awkward dance.
As the interviewee, you spend a great deal of time and effort, trying to guess if the hiring manager likes you or not.
Even after the interview, we usually think about all the great things we should have said, but forgot to mention.
There are a few telltale signs that can give you a bit of insight into what a hiring manager is thinking.
As you think back to the final words the interviewer said to you, undoubtedly, the focus is on both what the hiring manager said and how they said it.
I have been on the other side of the table for hundreds of interviews, and I find myself saying certain things to candidates who have a strong chance of landing the position. I also notice I say other phrases to those who have no chance of getting the job.
If the hiring manager says these 5 things, it means you likely didn’t get the job:
This phrase can be genuine, but it usually means, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I have no intention of offering you the job.” This is a phrase I use that offers little commitment on my part.
When I am excited about a candidate, I usually say something more specific, like, “We should know by Friday who the top candidate was, and I’ll let you know as soon as I do.” A general response usually means a negative feeling towards the candidate—the more specific, the better your chances.
When you hear this, it can usually be interpreted as, “Don’t hold your breath.”
In other words, the manager is telling you that you probably will never hear from them again.
An indefinite amount of candidates need to be interviewed, and obviously, you were not the one.
If you were the right candidate for the job, you wouldn’t need additional advice.
If the hiring manager wants to give you advice at the end of the interview, it means they generally like you, but there is no way you will get a job with them unless you do something different.
If the hiring manager is willing to take the time to mentor you or offer free advice, take it to heart. It means you may have a chance in the future if you continue to improve.
In other words, “Don’t be disappointed when we don’t call you, we only hire the best of the best.” Again, most hiring managers don’t like to hurt people’s feelings, but we can’t hire everyone. Stating that they only hire the best candidates implies there is nothing wrong with you just because you didn’t get it.
When a statement starts this way, the ending is probably not going to go well.
Telling an applicant about some of the background processes which are conducted is a way of saying, “you should have known you wouldn’t pass our background process.”
To avoid future public embarrassment, be sure to scrub your social media accounts and be mindful of what you post online.
If it’s on the internet, you can be sure your current or future employer will be checking how much of a liability you are.
This article originally appeared on Ladders.