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Twelve Signs That a Job Offer May Be Coming
Many times in the middle of an interview, your future employer will begin sending signals that you are suddenly at the top of their candidate list. If you are listening for these cues, you can gather valuable information to build your strategy when it's time to negotiate a better job offer.
The following twelve signals may indicate that the conversation has just changed from the interview process to the hiring process. If so, an offer may be coming, and you will soon be in the driver's seat.
1. The shortcut to the office: The interviewer asks where you live and offers a short cut to the facility or office. They make statements like, "the other managers find it's less expensive to park in this location" or, "our finance manager lives in that area and his commute is only 25 minutes." Listen for cues that the interviewer is persuading you to accept a forthcoming offer.
2. The unexpected introduction: The interviewer asks if you have a moment to meet some key employees of the company during or following the interview - people not on the original interview schedule. They might be your future peers in the organization, or a key influencer in the hiring process. Make a note of their names and positions, and listen for verbal cues the interviewer may be trying to "sell" you to others in the organization.
3. The on-the-spot follow-up: The interviewer schedules a follow-up interview before you leave. In this case, they've quickly decided you are on the short list of candidates for the job. Ask for the names and positions of people you'll be meeting on the next round of interviews. In some cases, they may be the next level decision makers, in other cases, they may be the "closers" responsible for convincing you to take the job.
4. The unplanned extension: The interview lasts longer than originally scheduled, and conversations center on the organization's immediate challenges and how you could help to solve them. You are asked if you are able to stay beyond the scheduled end time, and one of the interviewers asks for a second discussion before you leave.
5. The informalities: The interviewer moves from in-depth skill related questions to more informal conversation. The interviewer may share information about what the team does after hours, and make comments to show you how you will "fit in" with the team.
6. The body language shift: The interviewer begins communicating, both verbally and non-verbally, in a less formal, friendlier manner. Body language shifts from an intense, closed or guarded posture to one that is more relaxed and open. The interviewer smiles and makes more eye contact, leans forward, and nods their head in agreement with what you're saying.
7. The "Done Deal": The interviewer starts to use phrases that indicate you're already hired, like, "When you start working here..." Look for subtle changes in their tone or word choice that may subconsciously indicate that in their mind the decision is already made.
8. The competition inquiry: The interviewer asks about other job opportunities you are pursuing, and inquires about the status of your other interviews. They probe to understand how this job opportunity ranks in comparison to your other pursuits, and may ask a "test close" question like, "If we were to make an offer next week, would you be in a position to accept?"
9. The potential move: The interviewer asks detailed questions about your willingness to relocate as a result of a future promotion. They ask about your ties to your community or region, and which regions you would consider for an advancement opportunity.
10. The timeline discussion: The interviewer asks, "When can you start?" or, "How much notice do you need to give to your current employer?" The conversation shifts from hypothetical questions to the timeline and next steps that would take place if you were to join the company.
11. The inside line: The interviewer gives inside information about the company and work environment. They may make reference to what it's like to work for the direct manager, or make statements like, "We have a great team here."
12. The reference follow-up: The company contacts you within 2 days of the interview to obtain reference names and phone numbers. When this occurs, you'll want to advise your references to expect a call, and ask them to let you know when they've been contacted.
Keep in mind that although the signs above indicate an offer may be coming, it is not yet time to open the negotiation. At a minimum, you should have a verbal offer before you begin to negotiate. However, when you hear the conversation shift from an interview process toward the hiring process, be ready to gather information that will help you set your priorities for the offer negotiation.
About the Author: Jim Lewis is a Principal of Fizgig a leading salary negotiation services firm. Jim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by visiting http://www.getfizgig.com.