Job Hakr

Blog from the Job Hakr: Student Affairs Job Search

Blog from the Job Hakr: Student Affairs Job Search


Did you nail the interview?

Did you nail the interview?

Did you nail the interview?

Many enter the student affairs interview not knowing if it’ll end in their favor.

Though there are certain magical times when they do.  That’s when the interview feels less formal and more casual. It feels less like an interview and more like a conversation. In fact it feels like you are having a good time with some future new colleagues.

That’s when you know your interview went well.

Here are some great signs that you’ve nailed your student affairs interview.

Body Language

One of the first things that demonstrates the search committee is resonating with what your saying is by examining their body language. Often, at the beginning of interviews, people are a little bit stiff and formal. Though, as the interview progresses, they begin to loosen up as they learn more about you and how they see you in the role.

Do you see people’s heads nodding when you speak to them? That’s a great non-verbal cue that what you’re saying resonates with them. Another good sign is when they begin to mirror your body language. This is particularly evident if you’re being interviewed in a lounge area where there are couches facing each other. Did you cross your legs? Did the interviewer cross their legs too?  That’s a good sign! Physical reflection is great indicator of alignment and reception.

Verbal Affirmations

Another sign that what you’re saying is resonating with your interviewers is when they say so. They begin to indicate that they “like what they hear” from you. This is an excellent sign.  This is also evident if they begin to qualify you into the role. That happens when they create mental and verbal connections between your experience, background, and interests with the position that they have open.

This means that you’ve done a great job of aligning what your professionals assets are and how they are meaningful for the position they have available. Great job!

This is further reinforced when your interviewers begin to talk about big picture items, vision statements, strategic goals and other forward looking initiatives that they see you contributing to. Making these kind of futuristic statements is indicative of their personal mental state where they envision you as a member of the team and how you would add value to their institution.

That often segues into the hiring manager attempting to sell you on the institution. Especially when they talk about the area, the students, colleagues, amenities, and other benefits of taking on the role. This is a particularly good sign as it means that the hiring manager is attempting to convince YOU that you’d be a good fit here. No longer is it about selling yourself into the position. They already like what they see, now they know that they have to convince YOU in order to hire you.

Getting Casual

Ultimately one of the best signs that you are doing really well during the student affairs interview is when the conversation turns casual. This usually begins when the hiring manger or the search committee pivots away from professional questions and begins asking about things like your hobbies, interests, and other reasons that bring you to the area.

This can easily transition into them talking about you in the future tense. But not “if” you start; but rather “when” you start. This type of forward looking future talk is another good sign.

Oftentimes the conversation can turn both casual and forward looking enough for the interview to run over its scheduled time. If that’s the case, and they seem like they still want to talk to you, then that could be another excellent sign that you’ve nailed this student affairs interview.

Lastly, can you can determine if your interviewer is having a good time? Do they look like they are enjoying their conversation with you? If so, then that’s another good sign that may indicate that  you’re on the road to an offer.


There are many signs that go into determining if this interview is going to turn out in your favor. Those range from changes in body language; to verbal cues; and finally a transition into casual conversation.

Know that most of the interviews that you go on will not end in an offer. Though, there will always be that instance where you find the right position, with the right people, at the right location. That opportunity will turn into your next opportunity.

This article discussed the later stages of the student affairs job search. If you’re starting or just need some direction in your own search then click here to get the FREE eBook Getting Started in your Student Affairs Job Search

Happy interviewing,

Dave Eng, EdD

Provost, The Job Hakr



Body Mirroring: How we enhance personal connections. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Jones, P. (n.d.). 7 Signs You Nailed Your Interview Even if It Doesn't Feel Like It. Retrieved from

Moore, E. (2019, August 26). 9 Signs You Nailed the Interview. Retrieved from

Reddy, C. (n.d.). 20 Good Signs or Hints you got the Job after an Interview. Retrieved from