How body language plays a role in getting hired

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by Tom Watson on January 31, 2016

I was reading a study that talked about how people sabotage their job hunting efforts because of the body language they show while being interviewed.

While cleaning business owners aren’t technically interviewing for a job as an employee, they are interviewing on “behalf of their company”. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s close.

So today I wanted to share the results of what I read. You never know, but you may discover that you subconsciously send a signal via your body language that hurts your chances with the person you are talking to. Let’s get started…

Body language mistakes people make when interviewing

Lack of eye contact: 67 percent – The importance of looking someone in the eye can’t be understated. While you don’t want to over do it, eye contact has repeatedly been shown to be a major factor in trust building.

Failure to smile: 39 percent – A big fat welcoming smile should be on every business owners short list when meeting clients. In fact the first impression the prospect has of you should be of your smiling face.

Playing with objects on the table: 33 percent – It’s hard to believe that people would pickup objects in an interviewers room and fiddle with them while being interviewed, but evidently it happens rather regularly.

Poor posture: 30 percent – That people who interview with others while exhibiting bad posture is something that doesn’t surprise me too much. Many people didn’t listen to their parents when they chided them for sitting up straight and not slouching.

Excessive fidgeting: 30 percent – A lot of people possess pent-up nervous energy that needs to be expelled in some fashion, however doing so while being interviewed is not the best way to impress the person who controls whether or not you get hired.

Crossing their arms over their chests: 29 percent – This position makes people think you are trying to put distance between them. I don’t know why that is, but if scientific studies suggest that, then who am I to say otherwise.

Playing with their hair or touching their faces: 27 percent – I can understand that too much of either can be an issue, but I guess some folks take it to an extreme. Just be aware that this is considered a distraction to others and you should be able to avoid it.

Having a weak handshake: 21 percent – This is one of those issues that sound a little silly to me, but once again it keeps showing up in studies as a negative influence for some people so it needs to be taken seriously. I always tried to apply the same amount of pressure as the person I was shaking hands with to play it safe.

Using too many hand gestures: 11 percent – I’ve seen this pop up in several studies, so it must have some validity. From my understanding it’s basically OK to use hand gestures when speaking but you can’t overdo it. While it’s fine to emphasize important parts of the conversation, just don’t look like a conductor at a symphony.

Having a handshake that was too strong: 7 percent – Having a weak handshake is not good, and having one too strong is no good either. Once again, just mirror the person that you are shaking hands with and you will be fine.

Well there you have it, some scientific human behavior studies that may help you perform just a little bit better while you are out interviewing with prospects. Every little edge helps, so put them to use and odds are you will be better off because of them.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Raymon Samuel January 31, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Thanks, you never notice something’s that we do until something like this comes up.

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