Body language can reveal a lot about what is going in inside the sales candidate’s mind as they respond to your questions. There are certain types of body language that can alert us that the candidate may be trying to hide something.
To avoid hasty conclusions, allow the candidate to ease into the interview for 15 to 20 minutes. Everyone is nervous at the beginning of a job interview, so a bit of fidgetiness is understandable. After about 20 minutes, the candidate should have relaxed enough to demonstrate a normal range of body language. At this point, watch out for the following three things. Although none of these behaviors is absolutely indicative of a problem, they can provide you with powerful cues to focus your interview:
1. Folded Arms
This is a classic signal for defensiveness (provided the temperature in the room has not just dropped 30 degrees). When the candidate responds to your question by sitting back and folding his arms, resting his hands on his biceps or under his arms, he is trying to shield himself from you. The topic may be uncomfortable for him. Your job now is to understand what is behind his discomfort, and how it will relate to his performance on the job.
Everyone blushes at times. It indicates emotion, and a desire to think quickly, with a rush of blood to the brain. But if your candidate turns red when you ask, “Tell me about the last time you were rejected in a cold call,” you have some interesting data. Don’t draw their attention to the blushing – that will only make her more self-conscious. Instead, explore the issue at hand in detail, understanding what she did, and, more importantly, how she reacted emotionally. Make sure she doesn’t have a tendency to overreact to stress.
3. Nervous Fidgeting
If your candidate starts tapping his fingers, scratching his face, or twitching his leg in response to your question, slow down. This behavior is a sign of nervousness. So, take your time to figure out what about the topic at hand makes him nervous. Again, learn the 3 step process for using the DriveTest.