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How to Make Interviewers Think You’re Smart? Read Their Minds from How They Act

How to Make Interviewers Think You’re Smart? Read Their Minds from How They Act

When it comes to interviews, words are considered the most important part of the interview process. How we convey ourselves through words in response to the interviewer’s questions can make or break our chances of getting the job.

But what about body language? Often we’re so nervous or focused on how we get our credentials across in the best way possible, that we don’t always pick up on the subtle signals from the interviewer that gives away crucial information. Using the interviewer’s body language to your benefit can up your chances of landing that job.

Interview Is the Arena for You to Demonstrate How Personable You Are

As mentioned before, what we say in an interview is important in order to inform the interviewer of your suitability for the role. But what’s equally important is how personable we are in terms of how we come across.

It can be easy to adopt a ‘them and me’ mentality where we see the interviewer across the table as a machine we have to convince to hire us – void of any human thought or perspective but of course this isn’t true. Interviewers do have their preferences and biases to a certain degree when it comes to the type of person you come across as.

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This is why creating a smooth and pleasant interview can really get you ahead of other candidates because this, in effect, is showing them you are someone likeable and agreeable to work together with. As humans, we automatically seek out those who are amiable and make us feel comfortable.

And, of course, we all prefer working with people who can easily understand what we mean and and convey a relevant corresponding response.

The More You Can Decode the Interviewer’s Body Language, the More You’re Able to Turn Threats into Opportunities

Our own body language is extremely important in interviews but how much attention do you pay to the interviewer’s?

Reading the positive body language that interviewers give off – usually smiling and nodding as you give your answer and as a reaction to how you’re behaving – is pretty easy. However, trying to decode negative body language is where it can start to get tricky.

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For starters, any negative body language we do pick up on, can send us into a worrying and negative mindset making us think the interview maybe isn’t going as well as we thought. But what’s worse is misunderstanding what the negative body language means causing us to correct ourselves in the wrong way. This can then give off the wrong signals and may even sabotage the interview.

The reality is that interviews rarely go completely smoothly and in fact it can be a perfect test if you have the ability to turn, what seems like a negative, into an opportunity. This is why being able to decode body language more effectively will help you more with landing the job.

Common Negative Body Language and How to React Well to It

Here is some common body language from interviewers that could be interpreted as negative and the best course of action to take to make a good impact.

Raised Eyebrows

When someone raises their eyebrows it’s usually interpreted by the other person as having said something surprising or questionable. If the interviewer does this you should stop what you’re saying and clarify your point before they have to ask.

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Not Making Eye Contact

If they’ve been making good eye contact up to this point (ruling out the possibility of having difficulty with eye contact) it’s usually a sign that they’re losing interest. Here you should either get to the point more quickly or change the strategy of answering the question.

Tapping on the Desk or Fidgeting

This is a sign that they are aware of time restraints so either they feel time is running out or the end of the interview is approaching. Use this to your advantage by taking the opportunity to add any extra qualities you want to highlight (as long as they are in context).

They Stop Taking Notes

It can be disconcerting when you notice that they’ve stopped writing down what you’re saying and usually it is a sign that your answer may not be satisfactory enough. When this happens, make sure you end your point as quickly as possible and begin another one. It may also be better to try a different approach.

Always Enter an Interview With a Positive Mindset

Remember, decoding body language can be subjective. While the interviewer may well be giving away what they’re thinking, for many it’s an intentional way to see how well you react under pressure. But don’t let this put you off – if you maintain a positive mindset throughout and be aware of possible negative signs then you will be more relaxed in dealing with them.

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If indeed they are testing you, reacting in a calm and confident manner is the way to show them you aren’t flustered or easily put off.

By adopting this positive mindset:

  • You realise that you shouldn’t expect to get every question right. Much of the time, the interviewer may not fully know the answer themselves or they’re more interested in your thought processes. So stay calm and relaxed even if you feel you’ve answered incorrectly.
  • You will be less likely to judge yourself harshly or put pressure on yourself to perform perfectly. This will allow the interview to flow in a more natural state and let the interviewer see you in a more personable way rather than in complete interview mode.
  • You will be more confident in realising that the interview is just as much for you as it is for them. Asking questions to gather more information for yourself will not only benefit you, but allow a better and more natural interaction during the interview.
  • You will realise that not all interviewers are prepared and often aren’t especially trained in interviewing. If you keep this in mind, even if the interviewer is very professional, it will stop you from developing that sense of inferiority.
  • You will be more likely to maintain enthusiasm which goes a long way when shown at the right times during an interview.

So next time you enter the interview room, be aware of negative body language, stay calm and react accordingly. Be positive and be personable – this is what interviewers are always looking for, if not to see if you’re a good fit, then definitely on a subconscious level. Good luck!

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

If you pay attention to your everyday life careful enough, you’ll know that you can learn from everything and everyone you come across. Our life is basically full of useful lessons that we should learn.

Here are 26 useful things to learn that Abhishek A. Singh shared on Quora. Let’s see how these life theories would lead you to live a different life.

1. Primacy and recency: People mostly remember the first and last things that occurred, barely the middle.

When scheduling an interview, ask the employer the time slots they do interviews and try to be the first or the last.

2. If you work in a bar or in customer service of any kind, put a mirror behind you at the counter.

In this way, angry customers who approach you will have to see themselves in the mirror behind you and the chance of them behaving irrationally will be lowered significantly.

3. Once you make a sales pitch, don’t say anything else.

This works in sales, but it can also be applied in other ways.

My previous boss was training me and just gave me pointers. I was working at a gym trying to sell memberships. He told me that once I got all the small talk out of the way and presented the prices, the first person to talk would lose.

It didn’t seem like a big deal but it actually worked. Often there were long periods of awkward silence as the person tried to come up with some excuses, but usually they bought.

4. If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer, just wait.

If you stay silent and keep eye contact, they will usually continue to talk.

5. Chew gum when you’re approaching a situation that would make you nervous, like public speaking or bungee jumping.

When we eat, our brain tell ourselves, “I would not be eating if I were danger. So I’m not in danger.” This has helped me to stay calm.

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6. People will always remember how you made them feel, not what you said.

Also, most people like talking about themselves; so ask lots of questions about them.

7. When you’re learning something new, teach it to a friend. Let them ask you questions about it.

If you’re able to teach something well, you will be sure that you’ve understood it very well.

8. If you get yourself to be really happy and excited to see other people, they will react the same to you.

It doesn’t always happen the first time, but it will definitely happen the next time.

9. The physical effects of stress — breathing rate and heart rate — are almost identical to the physical effects of courage.

When you’re feeling stressed in any situations, immediately reframe it : Your body is getting ready to be courageous, you are NOT stressed.

10. Pay attention to people’s feet.

If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, they don’t want you to join in the conversation.

Similarly, if you are in a conversation with a coworker who you think is paying attention to you and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing in another direction, they want the conversation to end.

11. Confidence is more important than knowledge.

Don’t be intimidated by anyone, everyone is playing a role and wearing a mask.

12. If you pretend to be something for long enough, you will eventually become it.

Fake it till you make it. Period.

13. Not to be creepy, but if you want to stare at someone unashamedly, look directly past them and wait for them to try and meet your eyes.

When they fail to do that, they’ll look around (usually nervously for a second) they won’t look at you again for some time. This is your chance to straight up stare at this person for at least 45 seconds.

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And as suggested by Brian Stutzman:

If you’re staring at someone and get caught, DON’T turn your head or your body to look away, because that just confirms that you were staring.

Just move your EYEBALLS off the person. Unlike turning your head, it’s instantaneous. And the person will think you were just looking at something behind them and that they were mistaken for thinking you were staring. Do it confidently, and ignore any reaction from the person, and you can sell it every single time.

After a second, you can even look back at them with a “Why are you staring at me?” look on your face to really cement the deal!

14. Build a network.

Become the information source, and let the information be yours. Even grabbing a beer with a former colleague once a year will keep you in the loop at the old office.

Former coworkers might have gotten a new position in that office you always wanted to work in, great! Go to them for a beer, and ask about the office. It’s all about connections and information.

15. If you are angry at the person in front of you driving like a grandmother…

Pretend it is your grandmother, it will significantly reduce your road rage.

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    16. Stand up straight.

    No slouching, hands out of pockets, and head held up high. It’s not just a cliche — you literally feel better and people around you feel more confident in you.

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    17. Avoid saying “I think,” and “I believe” unless absolutely necessary.

    These are phrases that do not evoke confidence, and will literally do you no good.

    18. When feeling anxious, clean up your home or work space.

    You will feel happier and more accomplished than before.

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      19. Always buy the first pitcher or round of drinks.

      You’d be surprised how long you could drink on the phrase “I bought the first one.”

      20. Going into an interview… be interested in your interviewers.

      If you focus on learning about them, you’ll seem to be more interesting and dynamic. (Again, people love to talk about themselves.)

      21. Pay attention parents! Always give your kid a choice that makes them think they are in control.

      For instance, when I want my son to put his shoes on I will say ,”do you want to put your star wars shoes on or your shark shoes on?”

      Pro-tip: In some cases, this works on adults.

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        22. Your action affects your attitude more than your attitude affects your action.

        As my former teacher said “You can jump and dance FOR joy, but you can also jump and dance yourself joyful.”

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        23. When a group of people laugh, people will instinctively look at the person they feel closest to in that group.

        Notice who you look at and who look at you when you laugh with a group of people!

        24. If you want to build rapport or gain someone’s trust quickly, match their body posture and position.

        If someone is sitting with her legs crossed, cross your legs. If they’re leaning away from you, lean away from them. If they’re leaning towards you, lean towards them.

        Mirroring and matching body position is a subconscious way to tell if someone trusts you or is comfortable with you. If you’re sitting with your arms crossed and you notice someone else is sitting with her arms crossed, that is a good indicator that you have/are successfully built/building rapport with that person.

        25. The Benjamin Franklin Effect (suggested by Matt Miller)

        I find the basis of the Benjamin Franklin effect is very useful and extends far beyond pencil borrowing. This knowledge is useful in the world of flirting too.

        Asking a girl in your class if you can borrow a pencil or her notes or to explain the homework will make her more likely to like you than if you let her borrow your stuff or are the one to help her. Even just asking a girl to buy you drinks (facetiously) leaves a much bigger impression than offering to or actually buying a girl a drink.

        The best part is it kills 3 birds with one stone: you get the advantages of the favor itself, the person subconsciously likes you more, and it makes them more open to future favors and conversation.

        26. Handle panic and anxiety behaviors by tapping fingers (Suggested by Jade Barbee)

        When you’re feeling stressed, worried or angry, tap each finger tip while thinking (or speaking quietly) a few specific words about what is bothering you. Repeat the same words while tapping each of your 10 fingers, including thumbs.

        For example, tap while saying, “I’m so angry with her…” Doing so will likely take the charge out of the feeling and return you to a more resourceful (better feeling) state of being. It’s called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or “tapping,” and it is useful in many life situations – emotional sadness, physical pain, food cravings, traumatic memories…

        Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com

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