In many ways, job interviews are like first dates.
A steady jolt of nervousness runs up and down your body as you prepare for a meeting that's a bit outside of your comfort zone. Naturally, you hope the individual on the other side of the table takes an interest in you.
Preparation is paramount for this meeting. Your ice-breaker questions are fresh in your mind, your outfit is carefully chosen and maybe even dry-cleaned, your breath smells like Listerine, and punctuality is treated with the utmost importance once the big day arrives.
Ideally, you'll make a memorable first impression and the relationship will grow from there.
There are times, however, when it's difficult to get a true read from who's sitting across the table.
As a job seeker and perhaps a recent graduate from an online degree program, there are a few signs after the first meeting that let you know the the potential employer is interested. If you notice many of these five signs from the list below, chances are that you'll hear from the organization for a follow-up date.
1. The interviewer gives a firm day to follow up.
Sometimes, we break down and analyze the first meeting when the answer is right in front of us. If the interviewer relays something like, "I'll be in touch with you by Wednesday," this could be a sign the organization has made up its mind. Of course, this is not always the case. But you'd rather hear a specific date than something more vague, such as "We'll be in touch with you." OK, uhh ... when, exactly? Firm dates are encouraging.
2. The interview lasts longer than originally scheduled.
Think of this one like the first date. If you thought you were just meeting for coffee, but later wind up heading to a restaurant for dinner, both parties are probably interested in finding out more about one another. Similarly, if your job interview is scheduled for 30 minutes, but lasts an hour, the interviewer is likely interested in finding out more about your talents and how they could benefit the organization. Remember, as you're explaining your strengths, the interviewer is likely pondering how they could translate to the organization.
3. You talk about personal topics.
Let's not get carried away. I'm thinking of personal topics that relate to interests and hobbies, not necessarily ultra-personal topics that invite Mr. Awkward into the room. Personality plays a vital role in making a memorable impression. If you're able to share laughs with the interviewer, that's a positive sign of a relaxed and natural atmosphere.
4. You are introduced to team members.
If the interviewer takes you on a tour of the organization to meet various employees, particularly individuals within your department of expertise, embrace the opportunity for all that it's worth. It could be a sign of what's soon to come.
5. You discuss strategy with the interviewer.
If the interviewer foresees you as an ideal fit, he/she may ask how you would approach an exciting opportunity or new project once your position is added. This is a great sign that the interviewer can imagine you in the role for which you're applying.
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About the author: Eric Sorrentino joined Grantham University as Social Media Manager in October 2011. Prior to that, he blogged about Big 12 Conference athletics for KUsports.com and was a sports copy editor for the Lawrence Journal-World. Eric received his bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas.