Evaluating Nonverbal Indicators During an Interview

Do you find yourself making initial judgments about people before they even begin talking? These types of reactions are based solely on their appearance, mannerisms, and body language. While it is important to take into consideration the verbal cues from another person, it is also necessary to look into the non-verbal cues as well. In an interview, this can be a critical step in learning about the candidate if there is an evident disconnect from between what you see on their resume and how they act. It will cause you to dig deeper or pass on them as a potential employee.


What You See is What You Get

In some situations, you will meet someone and know right away if they will be a good fit or not for the open position. Their nonverbal indicators can help push them towards the final interviews while others will be deal-breakers for you. Here are some of the possible nonverbal ways people communicate in an interview:

  1. Posture and eye contact. Those who have the right balance of confidence and humility will be sure of themselves, but not arrogant. The candidate should know their skill set but not be boasting about what they can do. Rather, a truly skilled candidate will know their worth and respond to your questions with real answers and not “fluff.”
  2. Appearance. The idea of how important someone’s looks are has always been a factor in every aspect of life, not just interviews. Candidates who prepare will be dressed appropriately and not try to impress with flashy clothes or jewelry. They will look professional and present their physical self in a way that is suitable.
  3. Timeliness. If the candidate shows up late, this is a non-verbal communication that will give you a negative impression before you even shake their hand. There are few instances where the lateness can be overlooked and the interview can turn positive – but it is rare.
  4. Social skills. While these are verbal, there are unspoken ways to communicate. Does the candidate answer questions completely and possibly ask a question to propel the conversation? The talking may be verbal but the skills necessary to continue a lively interview are nonverbal. Strong candidates will engage their body and hands to show excitement or make emphasis. They want to catch your attention in a reasonable way and this can be done with their conversational skills.

In an interview, it is important to be alert to verbal and nonverbal cues given by the candidate. At the end of the interview, be sure to write down your thoughts immediately. It is possible to forget a strong candidate and neglect what sets them apart from the others after a long day of interviews. Being alert is your responsibility when assisting with the hiring process, and diligent notes will help you even more with the final decision.


For more interview strategies or to partner with our recruiting professionals, contact our experienced recruiting team today!


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