What Nonverbal Interview Cues Should You Lookout for?

Interviews give you an opportunity to meet the field of candidates you’ve narrowed down for a particular job, ask questions that haven’t been answered by the candidate’s resume or references, and get a feel for how the candidate communicates.  Well-placed questions can help you determine whether the candidate works in a way that fits into your company culture and understands the demands of the job.

In an increasingly competitive job market, more and more candidates are preparing extensively for their interviews.  While this preparation helps some candidates give more thorough and accurate answers, it can make many candidates sound coached.  Often, hiring managers can “look past” these rehearsed responses only by watching the candidate’s non-verbal cues, including body language and facial expressions.

While not always accurate, non-verbal language can reveal many things about a candidate’s inner mental and emotional state during an interview.  Some top cues to watch for include:

  • Hiding behind personal possessions.  A few items, like a briefcase or coat, aren’t uncommon when a candidate comes for an interview.  But a candidate who hides behind these or fidgets with them rather than greeting the interviewer with a strong handshake may be trying to calm interview-based anxiety – which may indicate a lack of preparation.  Listen carefully to the candidate’s answers to determine whether this anxiety in fact stems from a lack of preparation or just indicates pre-interview jitters.
  • Sitting “small.”  Fear or a need to hide something tend to cause the body to contract, drawing in the shoulders and elbows and hunching the back.  By contrast, confidence and comfort tend to promote a more upright, “open” posture.
  • Modulating eye contact.  In conversation, most human beings make eye contact about 60 percent of the time.  Candidates who make eye contact more when the interviewer is speaking and less when they talk are probably making a good-faith attempt to listen to the interviewer’s questions and to process their own answers thoughtfully before they speak.
  • Hand gestures.  Open, visible hands indicate a basic honesty and openness in communication, while hands that are hidden or clenched in a lap or pocket may indicate an attempt to hide or to avoid saying something.

At Marquee Staffing, our experienced staffing partners will help you pare down a pool of top candidates who are well-qualified for an opening with your company, improving your choices when you make the final job offer.  Contact us today to learn more!