How to Tell if a Phone Interview Went Well: 4 Signs to Know
As with normal face to face interviews, there is no real way of knowing if a phone interview went well or not (no one is a mind-reader after all!). That being said, there are some indicators and signs that your interview either went good or went poorly, which we will discuss below.
However, bear in mind that everything points to a good performance, this doesn't necessarily mean you got to the next round. There might be other candidates who also gave an excellent performance and they were chosen instead. They had greater technical knowledge and/or experience, that the company decided to go with. Your interview may not be to blame.
Sign 1: How Did it End?
The most promising sign of a good interview is when the interviewer asks, particularly towards the end of the conversation, whether you feel you are suited for the job. They may have established that they want you. This question is usually asked in the second interview. Especially promising is if the interviewer asks to schedule a face-to-face interview during this screening interview. If this is the case, consider yourself successful.
They might end the interview with a "well done" or "speak to you soon." Any time you are praised (unlikely, given the professionalism encouraged for interviewers) or a comment that you will hear from them again" should definitely be regarded as positive.
These phrases can of course be used automatically and insincerely. Since you are on the phone you can't see there body language, so comments and remarks as well as the tone are the only real information you have to go on.
Sign 2: Short or Long?
A more vague sign to consider is how long the interview lasted. If it was a short, you may have simply given them all the information they needed to know you were the right candidate right away. On the other hand, they may also have quickly discovered that you weren't the right candidate for the job.
Generally speaking a longer interview, with no long, dreary answers and when you let the interview speak (remember it is a two-way conversation) is a good thing.
Another element to think about is the flow of the conversation. Were there any uncomfortable silences? Was it a nice, free-flowing, back and forth conversation? The latter is obviously preferable.
Sign 3: How Did the Interviewer Come Across?
Throughout the interview, did the interviewer seem engaged with what you had to say? If they were, they would follow up on your answers with more questions. If not, they were probably keeping to a script and weren't actually listening too attentively. If this was the case, consider whether your answers were too long or your attitude monotone.
If an interviewer asks you for examples of when you have performed specific types of work, that is a good sign. Moreover, if they ask you for any follow-up materials, for example a hard copy of your reference list or CV, this is another indicator of interest.
You can also pick up on the pitch and speed of their voice. Granted they are professionals, so are paid to seem interested in you whilst you're being interviewed, but you can generally get a sense as to whether they are genuinely "into you." A quick question to ask yourself after the telephone interview would be "could you have carried on this conversation in a casual setting?".
Sign 4: Did You Ask Good Questions?
Before any interview you should do research about the company and specifically the position you are applying for. Then you can come up with a range of interesting questions to ask. These questions provide evidence that you are very interested in the job. This is what some professional interview teachers regard as the most important stage for a candidate. Asking good questions gives you a chance to shine and show how much you have learned about the company, the job, and so on.
Note: Some telephone interviews don't offer you the chance to ask questions, and will have stated it so. Don't worry if this is the case.
Remember, you can never really tell how well a phone interview went until you hear back. You might have done well, but someone else might have just done better,
So sit tight and wait to hear a response. To be honest, if you want a new job, use that anxious energy to continue your job search. There's nothing you can do to change the interview now, so focus on the next thing at hand. Don't waste time and energy fretting over something you have no control over.
I would also consider reading online guides and books to enhance your phone and face to face interview performance. There are hundreds of awesome guides out there that you should definitely take note of. Generally speaking, it is always more about your "approach interview strategy" than it is your suitability for the job (as Ramit Sethi preaches from IWTYTBR).
Think about it this way: Let's say that Person A might be more technically qualified for the job than Person B. However, Person A hasn't nailed down their telephone interview approach and answered a phone with "Hello, who is this?" rather than less-qualified person B who answered their phone with "Good Morning, Person B speaking."
Person B in the eyes (or ears) of the interviewer is going to beat out Person A within the first 20 seconds of the phone interview. Never mind the questions that came up. So it is definitely worth brushing up on and practicing some good interview techniques until they become second-nature. You will get through almost every phone interview stage you apply for (you could just apply to jobs you don't even want, purely for the practice).
Remember to ask for feedback as well.