How To Read Faces in a Job Interview

The boy was wearing a snow-while shirt and an elegant grey suit, definitely from a very expensive store or fashion atelier. When he entered the classroom, I noticed that his shining black shoes were a bit too narrow to be comfortable (right in agreement with the latest fashion), so I could not help thinking that he possibly did what we — women — use to do: brought the shoes in a plastic bag and put them on right before the exam. No, those shoes weren’t made for walking, they were designed to impress, and a guy wearing such shoes should not be sitting in front of an examination commission: he would look more in the right place half lying behind a huge oak desk, with his legs on the table, showing the soles of those shoes to his visitors.

I think I grinned to the thought, because the boy glanced at me with blatant complacency, frowned, and immediately looked away. At that very moment an urgent phone call made me excuse myself and leave the room for a couple of minutes.

When I returned, the boy was still sitting across the table from my colleagues, but my first thought was that it was possibly a different student. The snow-white shirt, heavy of sweat, got stuck to his chest in a few places; the nifty grey jacket slid to the side: my foppish boy was desperately looking for words trying to say something in English. His eyes were traveling about the opposite wall, while his arms , strong and fleshy, were hanging on the sides as if they were made of rope; He made a grammar mistake, then another, and one more, and finally, having noticed that teachers began to exchange glances, he fell silent a all.

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As a university teacher with decades of experience behind my shoulders, I have seen similar scenes many times. They are, by the way, very close to what hiring managers see during job interviews. The one being tested can either earn himself a good grade by displaying the right behavior or plunge into the abyss of self-deprecation and spoil the impression about himself once and for all. Below in this article, I have listed a few notes about the right behavior in responsible moments of life: during tests, exams or job interviews. Try to remember them when you face an important moment in life.

YOUR HEAD

If you are sitting in front of an interviewer (and in majority of situations you are), the most prominent part of your body that is openly displayed to the interviewer is your head. Try using it in your favor, not against yourself.

  • When your head is slightly tilted, this displays your interest and empathy;
  • Direct eye contact shows confidence, trust and interest; do not forget to look right into the eyes of your interviewer and do your best to do this without tension;
  • Smile. Put yourself in a positive frame of mind before the interview and try to keep this mood till the very end of the event;
  • Try to control the movements of your eyebrows. Too many changes on your face may cause unnecessary thoughts in the interviewer’s mind.

YOUR ARMS AND HANDS

First of all, control their movements all the time. Too much of gesticulation will tire your interviewer. Just move as much as you need to look natural. Your shoulders and arms should be wide open; this usually means that the person is relaxed and open to discussing ideas. Crossed arms are usually an obvious indication of being unengaged and uncomfortable.

YOUR POSTURE

Posture is one of the most reliable indicators of how someone feels. Always pay special attention to the way you sit, stand or walk, because your posture is a piece of your body language puzzle. For example,

  • a straight and open torso indicates that you are at ease and confident;
  • conversely, hunched shoulders and back can indicate a defensive, or weary state of mind;
  • leaning towards the interviewer will make you appear interested in the content of the interview;
  • at the same time, mirroring the interviewer’s body posture indicates an alignment of views, as well as comfort and connection. Do not forget to do this, if you feel it might work in your favor.

YOUR LEGS AND FEET

Quite often, they are difficult to see, but, surprisingly, they are a good indicator of how someone is feeling towards you. So keep yours under control and if possible, throw a glance at the inreviewer’s.

  • when both of their feet are pointing towards you, this indicates interest and an openness to connection;
  • a foot pointed out or away means a desire to wrap up the talk and leave;
  • crossed legs usually give out a defensive or closed off person;
  • shifting weight from side to side or a leg twitching shows that the person is anxious or stressed;
  • sitting comfortably, with a straight back and both feet pointed towards the interviewer would be the best solution for you. Even in a phone/ video interview when your lower half can’t be seen, if you act as you would in an in-person interview, you will come across as enthusiastic.

Finally, it is good to remember that we are all people. We have our lives and quite often, the most important career-breaking day for you is just another boring day of work for your interviewer. Do not try to guess what they are thinking during the interview (it may be something not related to the interview at all); just try to look confident and friendly and learn to control all parts of your body to make them work in your favor.

Good luck!

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librocubicularist | nonfiction | moonlights as the host of Silent Book Club Kota Kinabalu | writes on Scrivener

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