Know What Your Body is Saying While Your Mouth is Moving to Interview Your Best

May 11, 2009

What does your gut say?

What does your gut say?

Many interviewers claim they make hiring decisions based on their “gut reaction”. Have you considered what makes up a gut reaction; most interviewers have not. Gut reactions are complex, however a substantial portion is based on unconsciously reading body language. Body language is a combination of eye movement, body orientation, hand movement, head position, and leg activity. When messages from all these parts are combined there is a lot your body is saying. The important question; is your body communicating a “hire me” message?

Lets examine some body language-

eyes hulkEyes
Eye contact 60% of the time indicates interest and agreement however, eye contact 100% of the time indicates aggression. Frequent avoidance of eye contact may indicate a person is hiding something or lacks confidence. Rapid blinking indicates resistance to what is being said.

In your interview think about your eye contact. When you are asked a difficult question and you are not sure of the answers to you will tend to look away. This communicates lack of confidence in your answer and lets the interviewer know you are unsure maybe even fabricating an answer.

Think about maintaining good eye contact even when uncertain or nervous about what you are saying.

headYour head
When a person’s head is tilted towards you it indicates interest. When tilted away at an angle with glances from the corner of the eye, it indicates suspicion, mistrust and disbelief. The head supported on a hand indicates boredom. Nodding indicates interest and agreement.

During the interview keep your head tilted toward the interviewer particularly when they are speaking. They will get the message you are interested in what they are saying. Avoid cradling your head in your hands. Nod in response to what the interviewer is saying, although not like a bobble head doll.

handYour hands
Here is some hand communication:

  • When hands are open and palms up, it conveys truthfulness and openness
  • Hidden palms indicate something held back
  • Clenched hands indicate tension, discomfort, or anger
  • Hands covering the mouth or the nose or tugging at the ear indicates that a lie may be concealed
  • A limp handshake with palm up betrays submission
  • A firm handshake with palm down conveys strength and confidence
  • A hand gripping the other hand, wrist or elbow communicates a desire to quell rising anxiety
  • A hand behind the head betrays a need to fend anxiety, danger or discomfort.
  • Steepled hands bear power and proclaims confidence and business
  • The hand stroking the chin indicates ongoing evaluation of something just said
  • Hands flat on the table indicate readiness to agree

Pay attention to your hands. What are they communicating to the interviewer? What are the interviewer’s hands communicating to you?

slouchBody position
A closed position, slouching with arms crossed, communicates evasiveness and resistance. When you lean towards the interviewer you sends signals of interest. By leaning away you communicate disinterest or resistance.

In your interview keep an open body posture. If you cross your legs do not turn sideways. If your interviewer displays a closed body posture things are not going well.

OKYour doing well in the interview when
The interviewer maintains eye contact  70% of the time and is smiling. She faces you directly, nods frequently, leans toward you, and her arms and legs are uncrossed.

If you are not getting these body signs you will naturally,based on your gut reaction, tend to tighten up. Stay open, take a deep breath, and think about what is going on in the interview. You can even ask for some feedback about what the interviewer is thinking.

Use an interview presentation to improve your communication

Use an interview presentation to improve your communication

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