It can be easy to think of body language as only being important for an interviewee. After all, there are plenty of interview red flags and mistakes that can leave a bad impression and potentially ruin and candidate’s opportunity at being hired.
However, while positive body language is immensely important for candidates, it is equally as important for the interviewer. Therefore, it is vital that hiring managers keep the following four facts regarding the impact of body language in mind when conducting interviews.
The Majority of Cues are Non Verbal
According to research, between 80-90% of all cues we make are nonverbal. In fact, some argue that in terms of communication importance, words we say are only 7% of the puzzle, with body language and tone of voice comprising the remainder.
Hiring managers should consider the importance of body language and non verbal cues such as eye contact when conducting interviews. Maintaining open and neutral body language, proper posture, and giving a warm greeting to each candidate can help set a positive tone for the remainder of the interview.
Additionally, presenting a welcoming body language can even encourage interviewees to feel more open and comfortable themselves, leading to a higher quality, natural discussion.
Body Language Helps Build Rapport
Our body language plays a crucial role in how others perceive and relate to us. Considering this fact, it’s of little surprise that hiring managers that display positive and welcoming body language can build rapport more easily with potential hires.
While not every candidate will be hired, positively connecting with interviewees greatly increases the overall quality of the entire interview. Candidates are often nervous during the interview process, and this is normal. However, if a hiring manager can help alleviate nerves by establishing rapport early on, they are more likely to get an accurate representation of a candidate and can make more informed hiring decisions.
Making eye contact, nodding occasionally as candidates provide answers, and smiling are just a few body language techniques hiring managers can use to present a friendly image and positively connect with interviewees.
Body Language Reflects Company Culture
A hiring manager will often be the first point of contact a candidate makes with a company. While a prepared candidate will have done their research to understand aspects of the business they wish to work for, first impressions still matter. Therefore, it is important to accurately reflect the corporate culture as a hiring manager during an interview by giving off the right signals.
After all, one of the easiest ways to reflect the culture of a company is through behavior. Every workplace has a different level of energy and openness, and the culture of a company depends on several factors. However, a hiring manager acts as the face of the organization they work for based on how they present themselves.
It would make little sense for an interviewer to act unnecessarily energetic and to present dramatic body language if they worked at an organization that was very formal and reserved. Similarly, a stiff and unwelcoming posture would not be representative of an organization that prides itself on openness and equal opportunity.
These might seem like subtle tactics to keep in mind, but hiring managers must recognize the importance of body language and energy as they are often the face of their organization.
Body Language Keeps Candidates Engaged
Just as an interviewer should make an effort to warmly welcome candidates and to accurately represent company culture, they should also strive to keep candidates engaged.
The energy we give off is contagious. After all, no one would find it enjoyable to be interviewed by a morose, disinterested interviewer for a job opportunity. It is important that hiring managers make an effort to give off an appropriate level of excitement and interest during an interview to encourage candidates to do the same. Maintaining proper posture, using hand gestures when speaking, and making an appropriate level of eye contact are just a few ways to encourage similar engagement from interviewees.
Ultimately, there are multiple factors that contribute to the success of an interview. However, by remembering the importance of body language and non verbal cues, hiring managers can effectively engage with candidates, reflect company culture, and foster higher levels of engagement during an interview.
About the Author
Danielle K. Roberts is the Vice President and co-founder at Boomer Benefits, where her team of experts help baby boomers with their Medicare decisions nationwide.