The Secrets to Reading an Interviewer’s Body Language!

January 7th, 2013 | Articles, Interviewing | No Comments »


There are secret signals in every interviewer’s body language. Are you capable of decoding those critical messages?

When interviewing for a job, you may feel that your body language is betraying you. Your gestures, posture, and eye contact all seem to involuntarily show your inner emotions, yet this doesn’t have to be a one-sided game of show & tell. You can train yourself to pick up the secret, nonverbal clues that hiring managers send out. When you watch for the following signals, you can direct the flow of conversation and keep yourself appearing cool under pressure.

Smile – Know that a smile isn’t always a smile. Sometimes, if something uncomfortable has been said, the hiring manager may resort to smiling as a defense mechanism. So, when you’re trying to determine whether or not a smile is genuine, take a look at the eyes. Authentic smiles are characterized be a narrowed, squinting of the eyes with crow’s feet wrinkles speckling the corners; false smiles are not. If you somehow have crossed a line in your comments or responses, take quick steps to apologize and steer the conversation onto a more agreeable topic.

Posture – The hiring manager’s posture is worth keeping tabs on. A slouching posture can indicate boredom and a rigid posture can indicate disapproval but you need to note the manager’s posture throughout to get a good sense of the meaning. If you’re losing ground, consider redirecting the attention on to the interviewer. Ask about their time with the company or the types of projects they’ve worked on. People tend to feel comfortable talking about their personal achievements and will lighten up enough to redirect the conversation back to you.

Eye Contact – Unrelenting eye contact can mean a number of things but often is used to elicit a knee-jerk response from you. The locked gaze of a hiring manager can be used as a litmus test for your ability to handle uncomfortable, pressured situations, so pass that test with flying colors. Break an unwavering stare with the natural gesticulation of your hands as you answer questions. This reinforces your control over the eye contact and allows you a few free seconds to loosen up.

Though you should be on the lookout for each of these signs, don’t let paranoia consume you. The true secret to any successful interview is your natural confidence with the hiring manager. If you start to preoccupy yourself with every little miscommunication, you can lose yourself on the wrong focal point. So, be aware of the hiring manager’s nonverbal communication, keep your responses strong, and, if you want to improve your own body language, check out our previous article. Good luck!

by James Walsh

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