Friday, January 4, 2013

What Is Your Body Language Saying in the Interview?

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Once when I was working for Johnson & Johnson, I was invited to sit in on a test marketing study where we asked average consumers about a new product we were launching. I actually sat behind a two-way mirror for hours watching people answer questions. It was kind of like an episode of Law and Order but without the crime.....

Anyways, before the study got started, a psychologist met with those of us who observed the consumers and gave us a crash course in body language, or non-verbal cues. We were to use these cues as a way to either reinforce what the consumer was saying or to reveal their true feelings. I was fascinated! I did not know that someone could say so much about what they were thinking without using any words. Over the years, I have done a lot of research on the subject and when I was a hiring manager, I loved to read the candidates' non-verbal cues that would often reveal so much more than they were saying. I now use this information to help my candidates be more successful in the interviewing process by teaching them how to project positive body language and even how to read the body language of the interviewer. You can literally tell what the hiring manager thinks of you if you know how to read not only what they are saying, but how they are saying it.

OK, let me just say upfront that I am not a trained psychologist. But I have seen a lot of job seekers spend so much time concentrating on what they are going to say in the interview that they completely overlook the power of their non-verbal communication, or body language. Experts estimate that up to 93% of face-to-face communication is nonverbal. To be an effective interviewer, you must learn to communicate both verbally and non-verbally. Especially if you do not have all of the qualifications of your competition, you can still perform better in the interview by learning and using the body language techniques that I teach my candidates all the time.

I know you have a lot to think about in the interview and you might be thinking that you do not need to add "body language" to the list of things you are worrying about. But I have found it very interesting in my years of experience how powerful body language can be in the interview process. So in an interview, your words can actually be overwhelmed by the message you are sending non-verbally. Some job seekers never give it any thought. They assume that if they say the right things at the right time, they will get the job. But I have seen too many times that the "right" candidate does not get the job because the body language signals they are sending to the hiring manager are not good. Also, I have been able to teach my candidates some basic body language strategies so that they can read what they are being told non-verbally by the hiring manager. Let me give you the most obvious, but often overlooked, example - the handshake.

You have finally landed that interview and you eagerly approach the hiring manager with an outstretched hand. Did you know that how your handshake is perceived says a lot about you? Once you give a poor handshake, it can be very difficult to recover and build rapport with the hiring manager. For example, a limp or weak handshake (also known as the "dead fish") gives the impression that you are either disinterested or weak. If you just give the tips of your fingers in a handshake, it can be perceived as a lack of ability to engage. And the overly enthusiastic, big "arm pump" handshake presents you as someone who is insincere or overly aggressive. Clearly, none of these characteristics are what a hiring manager would want in a sales rep calling on doctors. When you approach the manager, confidently, but not too firmly, grasp your interviewer's hand and make eye contact while saying hello. Even if you think you do not have a problem in this area, ask for honest critiques from friends who aren't afraid to tell you the truth. This is an easy one to fix, but can be the most damaging if you are unaware of the effects.

Bottom line, non-verbal communication is critical on both sides of the interviewing table. You must know how to project a positive, friendly, and confident image using body language. I teach my candidates everything from how to have to good eye contact to what it means if you rub your nose! You must also know how to read the non-verbal cues from the hiring manager that will tell you whether you are on track or if you need to change your tactics. For example, our bodies give off body language signals even before we realize what we are thinking. If a hiring manager gives you a negative non-verbal cue, you can respond quickly and get them thinking positively about you, often even before they realize that they had a concern! You must know what the negative non-verbal cues are so that you can respond and get back on track immediately and keep the hiring manager excited about you. I teach all of this information and the latest training techniques in my job search tool kit "Ultimate System for Landing Your Dream Job in Pharmaceutical or Medical Sales" where I will also show you what the big pharmaceutical companies are now teaching their hiring managers about what to look for in you regarding your body language. Most job seekers out there have no idea about this information, much less how to use it to their advantage. Just another way I will teach you to set yourself apart from everyone else and land the job!
Dedicated to your future success,

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