What Your Body Language is Saying

Have you read the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell? It talks about how our subconscious minds are wired to read people and situations and make snap judgments in a split second to keep us safe. For instance, when you go out on an interview, the hiring manager is going to make such a judgment about you. While snap judgments can be right on, they can also be skewed depending upon the biases and misinformation that have been stored in the subconscious. This makes it very important for you, as a candidate, to be mindful of your body language, one of the first observable features about yourself that communicates whether you are a safe person. Are you aware of what your body language is saying?

Here’s a case in point: One of our recruiters was searching for candidates to fill a position at a manufacturing company. He found a candidate who looked very qualified and seemed really excited about the job. As soon as the recruiter submitted his resume, the company agreed to see him immediately for an interview. It looked like a the kind of win-win, great fit situation we strive for here at Amtec.

But when the candidate showed up for the interview, his body language demonstrated that he didn’t care. He sat casually back in his chair with his arms and legs crossed, generally demonstrating that he didn’t really care whether he got the job or not. The hiring manager who relayed all of this to our recruiter afterwards naturally concluded that the candidate was arrogant and not a good culture fit for their organization.

The sad truth is, the candidate’s body language ruined not only his chance at that company, but also his chances of being confidently sent out by our recruiter on any other interviews. Do you know what your body language is saying? To prevent this from happening to you, here are a few tips about body language to keep in mind for your next interview, from author and speaker Bernard Marr:

  1. Leaning. Don’t lean back too much or you’ll seem arrogant or lazy. But don’t lean forward too much or you’ll come off as aggressive. Shoot for a neutral position.
  2. Eye contact. Don’t break off eye contact too soon, especially during a handshake, or you’ll seem nervous and untrustworthy. But don’t stare too long, either, or people will feel you’re threatening. Also, don’t look up or around, or people will think you’re lying or not being your true self. And whatever you do, don’t look at your phone. That’s just rude!
  3. Arms and hands. Keep your arms at your sides–crossing them can make you look defensive. Hands in pockets or behind your back can make you look stiff and rigid, but fidgeting can make you look nervous. And don’t steeple your fingers or hold palms up–it could look weak, as if you’re begging!
  4. Stance. Don’t stand with your hands on your hips, or you could appear too aggressive. But neither should you step back when asked for a decision, because you could seem uncertain and fearful.
  5. Expression. Smile genuinely, or you’ll make people feel uncomfortable.

“If you discover you have a particular problem with one or two of the gestures on the list,” says Marr, “practice by yourself with a mirror or with a friend who can remind you every time you do it, until you become aware of the bad habit yourself.”

Before your next interview, become aware of what your body language is saying. If you really want the job, make sure you aren’t communicating disinterest, aggression, or dishonesty. Remember, there’s nothing like looking someone right in the eye to communicate your self-confidence and high level of emotional intelligence–and ultimately, your hireability.

Amtec actively serves customers all over the United States who seek top professionals with well-rounded skills. If we don’t have the most current version of your resume, please click here to post it, and visit our job board while you’re at it! You or a friend might be a good fit for one of our open positions.

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