Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Understanding Body Language:7 Things We Convey to Candidates

When interviewing candidates, you probably pay close attention to nonverbal cues to see how a candidate responds. Subtle body language can indicate point of interest, honesty, enthusiasm, confidence – the list goes on. But what about your body language? A candidate can glean some important information from something as seemingly inconsequential as a leg crossed or tapping fingers on a tabletop. Understanding the importance of your personal body language can be as significant as noticing a candidate’s body language, especially when the things you do have an impact on a candidate’s perception of the company and their decision.

Below are some negative messages that you could be sending to potential employees, with some tips on correcting harmful body language.
The Message: “I’m uncomfortable.”

The Sign: Sitting with your legs crossed while shaking one leg or wiggling a foot. A lot of leg movement conveys signs of nervousness (and is distracting). Try sitting with your legs crossed at an angle, or place both feet flat on the floor, both signs of confidence and relaxation.

The Message: “You’re annoying me.”

The Sign: Drumming your fingers on a desk or table, or rubbing your face. Keep your hands steady by clasping them 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 Sign: Rubbing the back of your head or neck indicates irritation and boredom. Be conscious of what you’re doing with your hands.

The Message: “I’m not taking you seriously.”

The Sign: Smiling too much. You may think you’re trying to make the other person comfortable, but when your smile accompanies a serious subject, it may suggest that you aren’t taking the interview seriously enough.

The Message: “I’d rather by anywhere but here.”

The Sign: Pointing your feet toward the door, or leaning in that direction indicates to your candidate that you want to leave the conversation immediately. Face your whole body toward the interviewer.

The Message:  “I don’t care.”

The Sign: Leaning back in your chair or placing your hands in a “steeple” position indicates lack of interest. Lean forward slightly in your chair, and clasp your hands in your lap or on your knees.

Even if you are feeling negative toward a candidate, it is important to maintain a professional attitude throughout an interview, not only for yourself but for your company. Show respect for a candidate and focus on upholding positive body language.

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