This article was originally published on Ask A Manager by Alison Green

A reader writes:

A job was posted on December 12. I applied on December 16. Got called for an interview on December 17. Then the job was removed on December 18. How big of a chance do I have to landing the job?

During the interview the interviewer said that they will get back with me at the beginning of January being that it’s the holidays, hence, they will get with the recruiter and then get back with me. Are these good signs?

They are neither good signs nor bad signs. They mean, at most, that the interviewer will check with the recruiter and then get back to you. I say “at most,” because it’s possible that the interviewer won’t even do that.

I know that you want to try to read between the lines and figure out what your chances are, but there is no way to do that.

There is literally no way to do that. None. You can’t know. Even if the interviewer says “You’re just what we’re looking for” or “We’re so excited to have found you” or “I can’t wait to have you start.” Even if the interviewer winks at you and passes you a note saying “the job is probably yours,” there would still be no way to know if the job was probably yours, because things change — better candidates appear, budgets get frozen, an internal candidate emerges, the position is restructured and you’re not longer the right fit for it, a different decision-maker likes someone else better, one of your references is wonky and makes them gun-shy, or all kinds of other possibilities.

Trying to read the tea leaves to figure out your chances of getting a job is 100% understandable — but it’s also 100% fruitless.

The only reliable sign that you’re going to get a job is when an employer calls you up and says, “I’d like to offer you the job.”

The best thing that you can do, always, is to assume that the job isn’t yours, so that you don’t slow down your search or otherwise let the possibility of a job — a job that you don’t have — affect your actions or decision-making.

You cannot predict anything, no matter how good signs might appear.