February 26, 2014
Say you’re prepping for a big job interview. You’re worried you won’t impress. You’re worried that your interviewer will think you’re a no-talent, worthless mass of steaming waste. Well, it may be the way you present yourself.
Now, you may have read articles about how your body language can turn interviewers off, can make them hurl in a wastebasket, or blind themselves with a stapler. That last one happens more often than you think. Hell, Rooster Edwards’ revolting body language once drove an interviewer to disembowel himself with a letter opener. Rooster still chuckles about that one.
So, if that darn interviewer is going to pass judgment on your body language, it’s only fair that I provide you some tips on how to read an interviewer’s body language. These tips may help compensate for a faux pas like reciting a litany of the lewd things you would like to do to that pretty girl in the photo on his desk.
Okay, here’s the first tip. If the interviewer stops taking notes, looks repeatedly at his watch or dramatically picks up the pace of the questioning, that’s a sign that you’re in trouble. There’s several ways to handle this. You could either say something like, “Hey, foottard, I’m talking here!” or “Pick that damn pen up!” Now, either one of these reactions would be wrong.
However, there is a proper way to once again gain the interviewer’s attention. According to body language expert and corporate trainer (anyone besides me thinking dominatrix) Susan Constantine, you should tell the interviewer you have a question for him. When you do this, says Constantine, pause and change the inflection of your voice to get his attention. She adds that the use of hand gestures to add emphasis and punctuate points of interest is also good.
Constantine doesn’t offer any example of what to say, but I’m thinking it’s not, “Dear sir, I couldn’t help but notice I am boring you. Please sir, give me a chance to redeem myself; otherwise, I WILL HAVE TO RIP YOUR LUNGS OUT!” Oh, and be very careful what hand gestures you use, a gesture that requires just one finger is definitely right out.
Another bad sign that the interviewer is ready to kick you out of the door is a smirk or raised eyebrows. Now, one might respond to such actions with something like “Raise those eyebrows one more time and I’ll shave them off and sew them to your nipples!” But, of course, that would be wrong. Rather, you should be straightforward and politely say, “I get the sense that you don’t agree with what I’m saying. Is there anything I can clarify?” A descriptive noun that refers to Oedipus’ relationship with his mother is is not needed for emphasis.
If the interviewer reads your resume the whole time you’re talking, never making eye contact, that means he would rather be somewhere else. In fact, anywhere other than listening to you go on and on about what a self-starter you are and how, as a 15-year-old, you once spearheaded an effort to save an endangered species of rug mite. To be honest, this inattention may not be your fault, according to Ronald Riggio, a professor of leadership and organizational psychology at Claremont McKenna College. Some people are just bad interviewers or don’t like questioning job seekers. To avoid this situation and prevent your interview from hiding behind your resume, you could staple each page of it to his desk when you first enter his office.
Now, I’ve pointed out the ways you can tell the interviewer may be ready to reach for that letter opener, but I would be remiss if I didn’t inform you of the ways you can tell you’re winning. If the interviewer nods or tilts his head forward, that indicates agreement with what you’re saying. However, if his head drops all the way to his desktop, either he has suffered a heart attack or he has taken a cyanide capsule rather than hear one more word about that damn rug mite.
If your interviewer mirrors your body language, Riggio says it probably means you are winning; however, there is still a chance he might just be making fun of you, especially if he shoves his index finger so far up his nose that his eyes gyrate violently. If the interviewer offers verbal responses, such as repeating what you say, that can be positive; however, if he repeats them in a whining, nasal voice, it might mean he ready to use the letter opener on you.
Yes, interviewing is a tough job, not as tough as actually getting a job, but tough nonetheless, so I hope these helpful hints will somewhat benefit you in your search for employment. Just remember, be interesting, staple your resume to the interviewer’s desk and whatever you do, for the love of God, don’t mention anything about those damn rug mites.