How do you feel about a first date wherein your date keeps on glancing on his/her watch? How about a date who slouches on the seat when you talk? These are non-verbal cues that your date is uninterested. It can put you off in your mood. It also ruins the night for both of you. No matter how you deny these non-verbal cues, it makes you realize that the date is a mistake. It’s the same way with job interviews. Employers tend to pick a successful candidate based on non-verbal things such as body posture, arm gestures, and eye contact.
And yet, not many are aware that these non-verbal cues can spell the difference between hiring a top talent and scraping the bottom of the barrel. People are naturally inclined to pick up on one’s body language even if they don’t know it yet. However, it is important to remember that non-verbal cues can also be misleading. People behave themselves differently according to stressful situations. Job interviews, as it happens, are some of the most stressful situations in one’s life.
The reason most hiring managers either have a background in psychology or have social psychologists with them in the room is because of body language. Companies know too well that picking up on these non-verbal cues can be challenging, but that it’s also important for hiring the best workforce. A well-trained recruitment manager knows how to interpret these body languages correctly and use them for the benefit of the company.
Is the candidate slouching on the seat? For many hiring managers, this signals that the candidate is uninterested in the job interview. But some people have terrible posture because of their bone structure. This might not mean that they are uninterested in the job interview. However, body posture is still a telling sign so better watch out if a candidate is slouching or sitting up.
An interviewer should want someone who leans forward as that is a sign of interest. It means the candidate is listening intently to what you are saying. On the other hand, if the candidate suddenly leans back, then that shows defensiveness. Take notice of the shoulder movements, too. Stiff shoulders may mean they are lying.
You can learn a lot from arm movements, too. People use arm gestures to emphasize a point. However, they shouldn’t use them too much that they became uncomfortable to see. Finger-pointing is a no-no in any interview, as well as the chopping movements of the arms. It can be seen as authoritative and might mean that it will be hard to work with that person.
Some people touch their faces or hair when they are uncomfortable. Those who rub their necks might also be trying to comfort themselves, so that means something about the interview made them uncomfortable. Maybe you asked them something that they don’t want to answer or don’t know the answer to. The crossing of the arms can mean many things, but body language experts are adamant that it means the interviewees are insecure and defensive.
It is normal for people to feel nervous because of the interview. Don’t take that against them. Nervous movements such as playing with their pen during an interview are normal for anyone nervous about facing a job interview. It doesn’t mean they are neurotic, or they have a mental problem.
However, that is not an excuse when you are hiring staff who need to face customers. Salespeople and promoters need to be confident that they won’t fidget around when they need to face a group of people they are trying to sell to. They need to relax when interacting with their target market because these are the roles they will play.
You should want candidates who can look you straight in the eyes. This is a sign of honesty and confidence. It means the candidate is telling you the truth. When the interviewees keep on averting their eyes, take this as a red flag. Employees need to make eye contact with their clients.
However, this is not the only sign that a candidate is to be trusted. Many shy people can’t look at another person straight in the eyes. This does not mean that person is deceptive or lying. It can also be that they are trying to remember something. And contrary to popular belief, people who lie make eye contact.
Remember that body language is actually a two-way street. How you act will also affect the people you are talking with. Body language is important in trying to read an interviewee but it’s not the be-all and end-all of how you should judge whether to hire a person or not.