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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
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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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