Is What Isn’t Said As Important As What Is Said?

As most of our clients know, a great deal may be learned from an applicant’s nonverbal communication during an employment interview. Experienced screeners are sensitive to the fact that body language, eye contact, posture, gestures, and even handshakes may reveal clues beyond spoken words. Some bloggers would have us believe that these signals are equally or even more important than what is being said.

No doubt that body language speaks volumes, but of course one may need an advanced degree in human behavior to interpret their meaning. Is eye contact the key to one’s soul? Can poor posture indicate the potential for sloppy work habits – or low self esteem? Do annoying gestures reflect certain personality traits? Does a weak or an aggressive handshake tell us anything? Although this may not matter, since in today’s politically correct and germ-conscious society, there isn’t that much handshaking going on anyway!

It is often just intuition that is our inner expert in evaluating an applicant’s behavioral characteristics. By “hearing what isn’t said” and by simply becoming more adept at watching for nonverbal hints, perhaps we can improve at determining if there is a place for a particular candidate in an organization’s culture.