Obtaining a degree and the right credentials to help you grow in your career is important; however, what you may not realize is how your body language affects your opportunities. Potential employers pick up silent cues and even though you may not say a word your body language can speak volumes to decision makers who are considering hiring you.
Candidates are often surprised when they are sidestepped for good positions that match their background only to learn they failed to positively influence the employer. While it may seem insignificant, body language is often the turning point when making a hiring decision.
A couple of months ago, an operations manager was discussing their recruiting needs and the challenges with candidates. He was looking to hire candidates who showed enthusiasm and a desire to work within a team-oriented culture.
He described a recent interview he had with a candidate who clearly met the requirements of the job description, yet his body language sent a different message, beginning with a weak handshake and crossed arms during most of the interview.
The candidate unknowingly influenced the manager’s decision to offer the job to another candidate who had less experience but sent a more positive impression. When the manager was asked about the determining factors in his decision, non-verbal communication was definitely one of them.
He is not alone in being influenced by body language. A recent CareerBuilder survey of over 2,000 hiring and human resource managers support the notion that body language does impact hiring decision makers. Almost half of the employers 49 percent know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position. At 15 minutes into the interview an overwhelming 90 percent have made a clear hiring decision about a candidate.
Even if a candidate has good accomplishments to talk about, it’s the non-verbal language that appears to drive decisions. According to the CareerBuilder survey the top 10 body language mistakes managers named are the following:
1. Failing to make eye contact: 65 percent
2. Failing to smile: 36 percent
3. Playing with something on the table: 33 percent
4. Having a bad posture: 30 percent
5. Fidgeting too much in their seat: 29 percent
6. Crossing their arms over their chest: 26 percent
7. Playing with their hair or touching their face: 25 percent
8. Having a weak handshake: 22 percent
9. Using too many hand gestures: 11 percent
10. Having a handshake that is too strong: 7 percent
Candidates who are successful in receiving job offers understand and develop a keen awareness that communication occurs all through the interview process. They know that body language combined with talking about their accomplishments while conveying interest helps build rapport with a hiring decision maker.
“Employers are looking for those non-verbal cues to indicate a candidate’s level of professionalism and if they will be the right fit for the position,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.
How can you use body language to influence employers? Develop an overall game plan on the type of impression you want to leave with the employer. If you have a video camera and most smart phones are equipped with one, consider practicing your answers and observing how your body language supports your communication.
Be aware that things you might take for granted like shaking hands, posture, smiling and eye contact all add up to making an impression and could be the deciding factor in a great job offer.
Do you believe body language can influence a job offer?