How to Evaluate Nonverbal Cues During an Interview


All serious job seekers have been taught that actions speak louder than words, but how often have you, as an interviewer, stopped to read a candidate’s body language? Chances are good that you stop evaluating job candidates’ nonverbal cues as soon as the initial handshake is dispensed with. If so, take another look– you’re missing out on a valuable recruiting tool if you’re not paying attention to job seekers’ body language.


Get Past the Handshake

The importance of a firm, confident handshake is so often emphasized to job seekers that it has almost become irrelevant to recruiters. Even the least confident or assertive job candidates have learned to fake the good handshake, so unless it’s a truly bad handshake, don’t let this be your first and last physical impression of a potential employee.


Let Them Warm Up

Even the most confident and competent interviewee is likely to be unsettled and nervous at the start of an interview. Pay little heed to classic “bad” body language — crossed arms, nervous foot-tapping, cringes and winces– during these first few moments. Instead, take the time to make candidates feel comfortable and welcome by opening with ice-breakers that put them at ease. Ask easy-to-answer questions about the weather (yes, the weather), entertainment or sports, and watch them relax from there.


What to Watch For

Once you’ve gotten job seekers comfortable, it’s time to watch for the nonverbal clues that tell you more about their personalities. This can be difficult, as nonverbal cues will be different from person to person, outgoing personality to introvert. When the introvert suddenly becomes chatty or the extrovert is suddenly looking anywhere but at you, that’s when you should worry. “Pay attention to the tone of voice and facial expressions,” suggests Daniel Goleman, author of FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. “Pay attention to your gut reactions when you notice an expression that you don’t trust.”


If you’ve ever hired what appeared to be a confident, knowledgeable employee, only to find your judgment wasn’t exactly sound, take heart– even body language experts make hiring mistakes. You can make fewer costly and time-consuming hiring mistakes by letting Staffing Partners help you find your next employee(s). Hiring temporary and temp-to-hire employees allows you to extend the interviewing period, letting you watch potential employees at work before making permanent employment decisions. Staffing Partners can help you create staffing solutions to meet your employment needs, taking much of the guesswork– and the body language translating– out of hiring employees.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)