Decoding Body Language During an Interview

04.12.18 | Looking to Hire

Some of the most honest communication happens through expressions and gestures rather than words. The mouth might say one thing while the body is telling a different story. These nonverbal cues help contribute to understanding how a person is really feeling. Knowing how to read a candidate is important in hiring situations.

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There are standard signs we look for and associate with certain feelings, like sighing as boredom or crossed arms as a defensive pose. Interviews, however, might bring out different nonverbal communication cues because it’s a new and stressful situation. Instead of making assumptions, try these steps to decode body language during an interview.

Anticipate Anxious Movements

Fidgeting can be distracting, but it’s a typical reaction in situations that cause nervousness. Notice the comfort level of your candidate, but don’t hold seemingly anxious movements against them. Looking away, crossing their arms, toe-tapping and rubbing their neck can be indicative of different issues, but it’s possible they are just temporarily uncomfortable.

See How the Interview Progresses

In most cases, your interviewee will begin to calm down as the interview progresses (unless they feel it isn’t going well). Make a mental note of how their body language changes throughout your time together. Perhaps their eye contact improves, and you can tell they’re more relaxed in the shoulders. These can be a decent measurement of their nerves. Be aware if they didn’t improve or grew increasingly jittery.

Connect When Necessary

Is the candidate clenching their fists or pointing? If so, you potentially have an aggressive employee. Did they look around a lot, laugh nervously and fidget? It’s likely they were nervous. Seeing a pattern in behavior can tell you more than noticing one action and assuming they feel a certain way.

The most important thing to remember is not to assume the standard reason behind a nonverbal clue applies to your interviewee as well. Everyone is different, and his or her responses can mean a variety of things depending on the situation. Being aware of the potential reasons behind cues is helpful but try and pay attention to the whole story.

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At Workbox Staffing, our goal is to make your business as productive and profitable as possible. We do this by only sending you the best candidates and taking tasks off your plate, so you can do what you do best. Partner with Workbox Staffing today.