You are interviewing for a position and you’re getting a pretty good feeling. The interviewer says, “It was great meeting with you, but we do have a few formalities to go through, before we can make an offer.” So does that mean that you’re going to hear the “good news” soon, or is what the interviewer said a conversation filler?
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It could be either one. Interviewers might not even mean to lie to you. As Alison Green of Ask a Manager points out in her column at US News, these statements often aren’t meant maliciously. Rather, “they’re inaccurate enough of the time that you shouldn’t take them at face value when you hear them.”
Here are a few sample statements that you might hear during the interview process — and what they might mean:
- 1. “You are highly qualified for this job.” What does this mean? Are you correct for the job? Are you overqualified? Have they interviewed all the other applicants? This very vague remark is to keep you engaged in the process. They may be looking at other candidates as well.
- 2. You’ll hear from us very soon.” That does not necessarily mean “with a job offer.” If you are a really strong candidate, this may very well be the case. But often times, employers say this to all candidates. It is polite and a conversation closer after the interview.
- 3. “We’ll keep your resume in our archives for any opportunities that may arise matching your qualifications.” Employers are legally expected to keep all candidate resumes on record for years. So when you hear this, it is just a legal compliance that the company is following. It does not necessarily mean that they will follow through with suitable positions. Some companies do file excellent resumes for important positions and do call, but this is not the general case.
- 4. “We haven’t closed the compensation for the position yet.” Every company would have a salary range for a job. So, this could be a flag that they haven’t received complete approval for the additional headcount or they’re trying to work out a salary based on your experience. If you hear this, make sure you get all the details before you commit to the position.
- 5. “We have great employee benefits.” Read up about the benefits of the organization, talk to employees working there. Many companies claim having excellent benefits as a means of attracting talent. If benefits on paper do not translate into practice, then that statement is of little help. So do your homework.
- 6. “You will have complete autonomy in this position.” Does this mean that you will be given little guidance to do the job? Perhaps you don’t have a direct reporting relationship on location. Is this a newly created role and the responsibilities aren’t clear? Understand all the details before you make your next move. While creating a structure and defining job roles could be exciting for some, it may be frustrating for others.
- 7. “We strongly believe in work-life balance and encourage it.” How does this translate in real life situations? Does it mean you have options of working from home or telecommuting or taking personal time off? Connect with other employees and understand how it works for them.
- “8. We have a great culture. You’ll love working here.” When you get a chance, verify this. All interviewers will say that the culture of the company is great. Do your research in identifying if in reality, this is the case.
- 9. “We have a matrixed reporting structure.” This could imply that you will have multiple reporting lines and multiple stakeholders. Try and understand how this translates to your job. Depending on the nature of your work, this could have a huge impact on your career. Who will be responsible for your performance assessment and professional development?
- 10. “We were very impressed with you. But we had to go another way.” Maybe they did find their ideal candidate or maybe they’ve just decided it’s not you. Often seen in rejection emails, this line is just a way to close out your candidacy. It’s all part of the interview process, so do not be too disheartened. Learn from your experience and move on.
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