Recruiter Tips: How to effectively use Non-verbal behavioral cues during the interview process

7 Sep2015

Non-veebal skills


While the technical and the verbal communication skills play a major role during the selection process, however employers nowadays are placing increased emphasis on soft skills or the personality traits to hire the right candidate - this is more pronounced for leadership positions where these traits play an important role in discharge of their duties. 


Two important tools which companies frequently utilize for evaluating employees’ personality traits are psychometric tools and non-verbal behavioral cues. While psychometric analysis has found its rightful place in the selection process as a measurement tool for testing skills, abilities, attitudes and personality traits, however not many recruiters see the value of Non-verbal behavioral techniques in personality analysis. 

According to behavioral scientists, more than 90% of our body responses are automated and are processed by the sub-conscious mind since the conscious mind has very limited capacity to process information. Thus it becomes critical to analyze these automatized responses generated through non-verbal behavior as these, unlike our verbal communication, are very much more reliable and not easy to manipulate.
During our interactions with other people we give off hundreds of non-verbal “messages” which can provide a very useful insight to the other person about our thought process.  Our body language, as means of transmitting our personality and behavioral information, is often much more honest than our verbal statements or the spoken words.
That is the reason, behavioral scientists value their usefulness in criminology and these techniques are being widely used by the investigative agencies worldwide during the criminal investigation process.
Non-behavioral analysis has a scientific foundation and is not just an art. While this subject in itself is broad and requires detailed study, however some of these gestures are very obvious and easy to notice. Anyone possessing normal intelligence can learn these techniques for use in his/her daily interactions.
The postures and body expressions of a person such as the physical movements, facial expressions, gestures, postures, and tone/volume of individual’s voice, can provide us with a wealth of information that could help us in accurately understating the person.
For example, self-confidence, which is an important trait especially for the leadership roles, is one such attribute that can be assessed through eye contact and handshake. Similarly by questioning some of the claims made by a candidate on his/her CV and carefully observing his/her comfort and discomfort cues, we can get useful hints if the candidate is lying about these claims and these can subsequently be examined in more detail. 
While most of these non-verbal behaviors are considered universal, however while using them we need to take into account the social and cultural background of the assessed employees as well. For example in Japanese cultural too much eye contact is considered rude. Similarly in many Asian cultures age is considered as a mark of respect.     
Many companies nowadays have behavioral psychiatrist sitting through the interview sessions and many more record video footage of these interviews which are later analyzed by experts for meaningful personality analysis.  
While these -verbal signs cannot always be a fool proof method to fully understand an individual’s thoughts, feelings and intentions, however if we are more observant during our interaction with a candidate these tell-tale cues can provide us with an incredible amount of information for more informed hiring decisions.