Job seekers have spent hundreds of years trying to decode the things the people in charge say before, during, and after interviews. Yes, that’s right, you’re not the only person who reads between all the lines.
However, most of the conclusions you come up with are usually way off. So, to help you spend less time overanalyzing, I’ve interpreted three of the most common phrases.
1. “We’re meeting with some additional candidates over the next couple days, but we’ll be in touch very soon.”
The Truth: “We’ll actually be in touch very soon.”
In the minds of job seekers everywhere, this is the worst-case scenario. “They’re interviewing other candidates because they’re not going to hire me. This is the worst. Right?”
Not so fast.
A hiring manager might be interviewing other people, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a good option. Don’t forget that interviewers not only have a number of questions they need to ask you during an interview, but there are also a bunch of things they just get comfortable saying on autopilot. That includes “We’re interviewing other candidates, so…”—even when you’re on the verge of being hired. When I interviewed in the past, I kept this line at the bottom of my notes for each person.
And sometimes, I even said it to candidates I knew we wanted to hire.
Sure, there are times when an interviewer will say this because they’ll be in touch soon to let you down. But, that’s not the only reason you’ll hear it come out of his or her mouth. Before you dive into your second pint of ice cream to mourn a job you’re convinced you’re not getting—well, OK, who am I to keep you from that?—just remember that hiring managers say this kind of thing sometimes. Because after conducting multiple interviews every day, it’s just how they’ve been programmed to end an interview.
2. “We’re really excited for you—uh, the person who takes this job—to tackle a project we’ve been thinking of.”
The Truth: This is usually nothing more than a slip of the tongue.
I know what you’re thinking when you hear this. And on the couple occasions I made this mistake when I was a recruiter, I wanted to bite my tongue so hard. Why? Because I knew how easily that could be interpreted as, “Wahoo, they’re going to make me an offer as soon as this thing is over!”
While it makes sense that you’d come to this conclusion after hearing something like this, it’s not necessarily the case. So, on behalf of those of us who know we’ve made the mistake, I’d like to say the following: We are really, really sorry.
With that being said, if you have a job, don’t rush into your boss’ office to quit as soon as you hear a hiring manager use the word “you” in a sentence describing the position. While it’s a good indicator that the mood of your interview is trending in the right direction, this is unfortunately not a subtle wink, wink way of saying that you’re about to be hired.
3. “Here’s my card. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.”
The Truth: “Hello! McFly!”
Yes, hiring managers are happy to answer any questions you think of after you leave an interview. But, if you haven’t caught on by now, being handed a business card is a not-so-subtle way of saying, “Here is my email address, to which I expect you to send a thank you note.”
While asking questions post-interview is encouraged if you actually have them, it’s not necessary. In fact, a hiring manager can tell when he or she receives a battery of questions that are being sent just for the sake of making a better impression. Before you worry about any additional questions you might not have asked, make sure you send a thank you note!
It’s easy to board the Worst Case Scenario Train whenever an interviewer says, well, just about anything. And while you should handle the interview process with as much care as possible, there’s no need to analyze every single word that comes out of a hiring manager’s mouth. You were invited in for one reason, and one reason only: The company thinks you could be a great fit. And it’s just up to you to prove everyone there right.