Carol Kinsey Goman knows a thing or two about telltale body language – and how people in the workplace can figure out when others are being deceitful. (Cue the frozen smile and locked ankles; cue the fleeting ‘micro-expression’ that reveals what people really feel no matter what their faces may show.)
But what about “good” body language signs – the kind that indicate you’ve gotten a job you covet, for example, or suggest you’re at least still in the running?
It may seem a fool’s game to some, but body language experts stress there are behavior “tells” that can help us understand the unspoken dynamics that occur in key workplace interactions.
Here is a list of helpful hints on how to read an interviewer’s physical cues, according to Goman, the author of two books on the topic and a sought-after management consultant and communications coach:
• Does the interviewer mimic your physical gestures (arm movements and the like) as you make them? If so, he or she may “feel you’re a kindred spirit,” says Goman. In this case, “you’re likely to get the person’s stamp of approval.”
• Does the interviewer continue to glance down at your resume even though he might be telling you he’s not sure your experience matches the job? Key insight: If he’s still checking out your resume, “he’s still interested in you,” says Goman.
• Does the interviewer tilt his head as you’re speaking? That’s a good sign.
• Is the interviewer’s entire body “oriented” toward you – his “legs, shoulders, hips and torso?” asks Goman. If the answer is yes – you have a shot.
• Are the interviewer’s eyes wide open as he looks at you and engages with you – as opposed to eyes that might be narrowing? Another good sign.
• Is the interviewer leaning slightly forward and toward you? Good sign again.
• Does the interviewer show “the palms of his hands as he speaks to you”? At the very least, you can be confident he’s being candid with you as he speaks.
Goman says that as the job candidate, “you’re aware of course that you’re being assessed for competence, confidence and candor.”
But “what about the interviewer?” she says. “Is he being totally upfront with you? You need to know that.”
These insights can help you decipher that as you put your best foot forward in what continues to be a tough economic environment.