I am currently in the agonizing period shortly after an academic job interview at a regional research school and I'm trying to analyze the day to estimate my chances of getting an offer.

Overall the interview seemed to go well. The talk was fine and the one on one interviews and meals seemed to go smoothly. But, I wonder how much of that has to do with my interviewers just being nice people.

Are there any people here with experience - on either side of the interview process - who can provide any feedback about how the interviewers might behave before they do (or don't) ultimately extend the offer?

If it's relevant, I happen to know I was the last of four finalists invited to campus and it's been at least two weeks since another candidate was interviewed.

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    In my experience interviews/job talks cannot go well, they can only go poorly. In other words it is hard to move up the short list but relatively easy to move down it.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 13:39
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    If your goal is to get information from us and use that to try to figure out whether you will get the job offer: I'm sorry to tell you that's just not going to be possible, with any degree of accuracy. I understand the impulse to analyze and process such an event, but I honestly don't think that impulse is a helpful one in this situation. Wondering whether you'll get the job does not actually do anything positive for you: it's just wasted mental and emotional energy. Try doing something more relaxing and/or more productive instead. Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 13:56
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    If you get a job offer it went well enough. If you don't, it didn't.
    – 410 gone
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 15:19
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    Hi @Pete, and thanks for your attention. My goal is to find out exactly what I wrote in the question: has anyone observed any particular interviewer behaviors that indicate which way they are leaning (e.g. The level of detail the dean/chair goes into wrt tenure requirements or how casually they treat you or the language they use when you say goodbye)? I thought this may be of interest to others in the future, and no such information is easily found on the internet (wrt academic jobs at least), so I asked the community. It sounds like your answer is "No, I have not". Good to know. Thanks.
    – Homer
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 16:38
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    @EnergyNumbers I totally disagree with "If you don't, it didn't". Quite often a candidate will rock the interview and another will bomb it and the one who bombed it will still get the offer.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


Even if a department loves you, it's unlikely they'll show any overt signs (especially in an official capacity) because they want to maintain a reasonable negotiating position.

But individual faculty are not always "with the program". For example, it's happened to me that someone said (during an interview) "I really like your profile and will be making a strong case to make you an offer". But while this might be flattering, it also depends on how much power that individual has over final decisions.

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    Alternately, many departments will show overt signs of liking all the candidates they interview. For job searches in which three or four people are picked out of a pool of hundreds, this seems appropriate, and it may be a better recruitment strategy than remaining aloof. Anyway, the point is you really can't tell. Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 18:51

I can only speak from experience: I was first out of four candidates and I was given great informal feedback by the search committee chair (i.e. "You set the bar high"). I came in second as their "alternate choice" and did not get the job...

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