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The next time you are conducting a job interview, be sure to pay attention to the job candidate’s body language.  Their non verbal cues could make or break the deal.  Here are some tips for reading a candidate by their body language.

tips on reading a candidate by their body lanuage

Before the interview

An excellent way to get a snapshot of people’s true inner feelings and attitudes is to observe their “resting face,” the expression worn when they’re not interacting with anyone. A negative resting face, among other things, makes someone less approachable to others.

Come in to my office
An applicant walking in tall and taking fairly brisk strides, shows some confidence and enthusiasm. Candidates dragging or shuffling their feet or taking short choppy strides are less assured.

The handshake
When someone offers you a firm, palm-to-palm handshake accompanied by direct eye contact and a pleasant smile, this shows the person to be confident, interested and sincere. An affable smile sets the stage for a congenial interaction, sends a positive message and adds some warmth to what can feel like a cold process.

Have a Seat
Confidence; interest and alertness are projected when prospective employees sit tall in their chair. Someone who leans slightly forward while you’re speaking is usually engaged in what you are saying. Slouching in a chair can be a sign of indifference. If someone is perched on the edge of the chair, that person is probably nervous or overly eager. Leaning or tipping back in a chair, especially with hands clasped behind the head, is a gesture of arrogance and disdain.

Eye Contact
A desirable job prospect maintains good eye contact. When someone fails to look you in the eye, it can mean that individual is nervous, introverted, disinterested or even dishonest. On the other hand, if someone’s gaze turns into a stare, it may signify aggression or fear. Applicants who stare blankly are showing disinterest in actively participating in the interview process.

Hands, Arms, Feet and Legs
Job prospects who place their hands calmly on their lap are confident and relaxed. When an applicant articulates with open hands and palms visible, this is an indication of sincerity, openness and warmth. Crossed arms send a negative vibe and show the person to be closed off, defensive or in disagreement with what you are saying. Crossed arms and legs together may convey a very reserved and suspicious nature. If someone rests an ankle on the other knee, this reflects an arrogant or overly casual attitude.

It ain’t over till the applicant exits
You can tell a lot about a job candidate’s genuine self by observing that person in closing. When they get up out of the chair, and walk to the exit, are they still confident and comfortable? Or are they hesitant and slumped?

During the job interview process, never underestimate the value of nonverbal communication. Being able to read body language can be significantly instrumental in finding the right candidate for a particular job.


Be sure to read our tips on identifying a positive working environment and how to identify a hostile work environment too.

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