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Decoding Candidate’s Interview Body Language


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What is body language?

What matters is how you say it, not what you say. Our posture, gestures, movements, or facial expressions can shape our reputations.


Instead of using words, some of the most sincere communication takes place through facial expressions and hand gestures.


The body may be telling a different story than what the mouth is saying. These nonverbal cues help in decoding a person’s true feelings.



In hiring situations, it is crucial to understand how to read candidates.


Nobody can read minds. We can suppose that a job candidate is overly anxious if they blink frequently. However, how can we be certain that their lenses are not becoming dry? The important thing is to not jump to hasty conclusions.


Understanding candidate’s intentions are important when learning to read body language during interviews. Things to notice:


  • Body Posture

During an interview, a nervous candidate may frequently struggle with sweaty palms or restless arms and legs. So they do the absolute worst thing possible—they cross their arms and legs and recline in their chairs. This does not imply that a candidate is about to leave the room, though.


Pose with an open body, smile, and do something to break the ice to help them relax a little.


Bear in mind, that slouching is a red flag. Leaning back or invading your personal space is a negative sign. Whereas, sitting on the chair’s edge and leaning forward shows they are interested in what’s being said.


  • Arm Gestures

Finger pointing is authoritative. Over-doing the hand gestures to explain something is a bit excessive unless you are hiring an actor!


Touching their face or playing with hair shows they are a bit uncomfortable. However, rubbing their necks means to relieve frustration or tension.


Crossing arms is a sign of them being distant or defensive. They might do so at first but notice to see if they uncross their arms as the interview gradually progresses.


  • Nervous Movements

Candidates can feel anxious during interviews. We risk making the wrong decisions if we focus too much on their nervous tics.


It does not necessarily mean that candidates are irrational or uneasy with themselves overall if they fiddle with their pen while being interviewed because most of them are the right fit for the job who are just facing performance anxiety.


  • Eye Contact

During an interview, this kind of body language may be slightly deceptive.


You might initially assume that the candidate is uninterested or aloof. The truth is that not everyone is great at face-to-face communication.


Moreover, being on the “hot seat” makes people even more nervous. A candidate might hesitate to make eye contact with you until they get to know you a little.


  • Handshakes


Strong handshakes are a sign of confidence. Timid (or anxious) people occasionally have shaky or soft handshakes. When a candidate enters the room, a stronger handshake might be a sign of aggression. The best one is given with a genuine smile.


  • Mirroring 

When we observe others doing something, we are likely to do the same.


The problem is that you cannot tell if a candidate is mirroring unintentionally or naturally. They might be trying to control you if they are doing it on purpose. However, if it is forced, it shows that they want to start a relationship.


  • Extreme Behavior

Be wary of extreme actions, such as someone who is checking their phone.


  • Spot the Differences 

Changes in a person’s posture or movement is to decode their body language.


Consider a scenario where a candidate starts tapping their foot all of a sudden. Perhaps they think the interview is going on for too long. Or perhaps a difficult question is being posed to them.


The body language has a big effect on the candidate’s interview performance. Candidate relaxation and openness are because of positive body language. Defensive and reserved responses are by negative body language.