Recruitment Tips, Employer Trends, and Hiring Insights from CareerBuilder

Interviewing > Selection > Talent Acquisition

7 Things We Tell Candidates During Interviews (Without Saying a Word)

Does your body language betray you?

You’ve probably heard the stats that say that body language accounts for somewhere between 55 and 90 percent of  all communication…and when interviewing job candidates, you likely pay a lot of attention the nonverbal cues they give out that convey their interest, honesty, enthusiasm, confidence, etc. – or a lack thereof…

But how often do you think about how your own body language comes across? It’s likely you’re so focused on them that you forget to think about your own nonverbal cues: Do you unintentionally intimidate candidates? Do your hand gestures and facial expressions convey boredom, irritation or condescension?

Understanding the nonverbal signals you send can be just as important as reading your candidates’ body language – especially since, as the interviewer, you have a direct impact on the candidate’s impression of the company and the resulting decision to accept or reject a job offer.

Unfortunately, sometimes the biggest offenders are the seemingly harmless things we do – tics, if you will – that we don’t even think about – and the negative messages they send candidates.  Below are seven messages your body language sends others, and how to correct them:

The Message: “I’m uncomfortable.”
The Tip-Off: Sitting with legs crossed while shaking one leg or wiggling a foot. A lot of leg movement in general is both distracting and indicates nervousness. Sit with your legs crossed at the angles, or place both feet flat on the floor to convey confidence and relaxation.

The Message: “You’re annoying me.”
The Tip-Off: You’re drumming your fingers on your desk. Rubbing your face can also indicate irritation.  You can keep your hands in check by resting them, loosely clasped in your lap or on the table in front of you.

The Message: “I couldn’t be more bored by what you have to say.”
The Tip-Off: Rubbing the back of your head or neck indicates boredom, as well as irritation. An innocent enough gesture (maybe you have a headache…or you accidentally wore black without the Blue), but now that you’re aware of the message it sends, try to keep it to a minimum, if not stop altogether.

The Message:
“I’m better than you.”
The Tip-Off: You’re leaning back in your chair and folding your arms across your chest, which can be seen as arrogant. The same goes for resting one leg or ankle on top of your other knee. Give the candidate your full attention and respect by sitting upright with your torso facing him or her.

The Message: “I’m not taking you seriously.”
The Tip-Off: You’re smiling a little too much. You’re probably only trying to put the other person at ease, but be careful to not smile too much when talking about serious subjects, as your grin might suggest that you aren’t taking the discussion seriously enough.

The Message: “I’d rather be anywhere but here.”
The Tip-Off:  Pointing your feet toward the door – or leaning in that direction – tells the person you’re conversing with that you get heck out of there ASAP. Make sure that you are facing the other person squarely, with your feet flat on the floor or crossed at the ankles.

The Message: “I don’t care.”
The Tip-Off: Leaning back in your chair, placing your hands in a “steeple” position, tends to show indifference on your end.  Instead, show (or feign?) interest by leaning forward slightly in your chair, and lightly clasp your hands in your lap or placing them near your knees.

Even if you are bored, annoyed, disinterested, etc…It’s still important that you maintain a professional demeanor and treat your candidate with respect. After all, the interview is not the time to evaluate a candidate. Save the eye rolls and exasperated sighs for after the interview, when you have a chance to process everything.

In fact, now that you are aware of how others might be interpreting your nonverbal cues, be willing to forgive these gestures in others, as, your interview subject may not realize he or she is doing the same.  While you want to ensure you hire someone who is comfortable within your company, you have to be willing to forgive some degree of nervousness.

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
6 comments
xela
xela

My interview with a male supervisor went great. He was at VBMC-psych in Brownsville and he talked to me like a 100 miles an hr. I thought to myself "male supervisors go fast and to the point". I felt calm and relaxed because I knew I was perfect for that job; unfortunately he spoke too fast and kept yawning every 2-3 seconds. I did not care at first since I thought "Oh this is an easy interview and I am sure I,ll get this job since I am overqualified to do my expertise in this field. Then he told me that I will find out within three days if I got the job or not so that I can go out and celebrate! I got out of there pretty confident that the job was mine...Two weeks later, I kept calling HR and telling me that they had not finished interviewing and that maybe I will find out by the next day. To my despair in waiting too long, I decided to call again and HR placed me on hold for sometime just to let me know that my notification was going in the mail as we were speaking and that they will keep my file for six months! Why did it take so long? Why the interviewer was so sleepy or "bored"? THEIR LOSS!!!

xela
xela

My interview with a male supervisor went great. He was at VBMC-psych in Brownsville and he talked to me like a 100 miles an hr. I thought to myself "male supervisors go fast and to the point". I felt calm and relaxed because I knew I was perfect for that job; unfortunately he spoke too fast and kept yawning every 2-3 seconds. I did not care at first since I thought "Oh this is an easy interview and I am sure I,ll get this job since I am overqualified to do my expertise in this field. Then he told me that I will find out within three days if I got the job or not so that I can go out and celebrate! I got out of there pretty confident that the job was mine...Two weeks later, I kept calling HR and telling me that they had not finished interviewing and that maybe I will find out by the next day. To my despair in waiting too long, I decided to call again and HR placed me on hold for sometime just to let me know that my notification was going in the mail as we were speaking and that they will keep my file for six months! Why did it take so long? Why the interviewer was so sleepy or "bored"? THEIR LOSS!!!

Chris
Chris

Great tips, I can definitely remember doing some of these on the first few interviews I ever did, luckily I had a great mentor to help me. He pointed out some of my body language and other little things I was doing that candidate my read (good or bad) I really appreciate what he did back then for me.

Waddell Sheppard
Waddell Sheppard

Not only are you interviewing candidates, but candidates are interviewing you and your companay. It is important to be aware of how you and your company present its BRAND. Becoming an employer of choice is a hard thing to do, dont risk losing a candidate because of your non-verbal signals. http;//www.InvisionYourImage.com

Waddell Sheppard
Waddell Sheppard

Not only are you interviewing candidates, but candidates are interviewing you and your companay. It is important to be aware of how you and your company present its BRAND. Becoming an employer of choice is a hard thing to do, dont risk losing a candidate because of your non-verbal signals. http;//www.InvisionYourImage.com

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lewis, Job Coach, link2peer, Greg (METROSTAR), Today's HR News, Pro-Tem Solutions and others. Pro-Tem Solutions said: 7 Things We Tell Candidates During Interviews (Without Saying a Word): Does your body language betray you?   You’v… http://bit.ly/c1cUP2 [...]

  2. [...] the new dos and don’ts of interviewing — and we told you why you might not want to make that gesture during a candidate [...]

  3. Trackback says:

    Maybe…

    Hey i have an old xp computer ant want to make it a client of my newer vista home premium computer. I hear that there is a program out there that when u boot up the (client computer) u come straight to the welcome screen on the base computer (the one w…

  4. Trackback says:

    I have some question

    I just need to know how to get a website started. I want to make a fan site for a new band. I know that I have to pay for a domain, but I’m confused about how to purchase & build a website. Help please? Thanks in advance! (:. Thanks everyone! (:.

  5. Trackback says:

    I like your blog

    How can i start firefox with a message to restore the last session?

  6. Trackback says:

    Good info

    I plan on starting a blog and would eventually like to bring in ad revenue, should I start out on a free website or should I buy a domain?.

  7. Trackback says:

    Great

    How do I use wordpress and comicpress to create a website and publish my comic strips?

  8. Trackback says:

    Thank you

    What are the most popular blog sites in the Philippines where I can submit my blogs for others to read?

  9. رهان says:

    … [Trackback]

    [...] There you will find 29343 more Infos: thehiringsite.careerbuilder.com/2010/07/22/7-things-we-tell-candidates-during-interviews-without-saying-a-word/ [...]

  10. … [Trackback]

    [...] Informations on that Topic: thehiringsite.careerbuilder.com/2010/07/22/7-things-we-tell-candidates-during-interviews-without-saying-a-word/ [...]

  11. Trackback says:

    Good info

    How can I get the computer in one room to send stuff to the printer on my computer in another room. Internet?

  12. … [Trackback]

    [...] Read More here: thehiringsite.careerbuilder.com/2010/07/22/7-things-we-tell-candidates-during-interviews-without-saying-a-word/ [...]

  13. … [Trackback]

    [...] There you will find 39174 more Infos: thehiringsite.careerbuilder.com/2010/07/22/7-things-we-tell-candidates-during-interviews-without-saying-a-word/ [...]

  14. … [Trackback]

    [...] Find More Informations here: thehiringsite.careerbuilder.com/2010/07/22/7-things-we-tell-candidates-during-interviews-without-saying-a-word/ [...]

  15. … [Trackback]

    [...] There you will find 40395 more Infos: thehiringsite.careerbuilder.com/2010/07/22/7-things-we-tell-candidates-during-interviews-without-saying-a-word/ [...]

Stay Connected

Subscribe