Body language and job interviews

I have arrived back home safely from my trip out west. We flew as a family on August 16 – if you have been reading the news lately, that was supposedly the day when 12 airplanes were going to be blown out of the sky with IPODs and a tonic mixture that wasn’t meant for drinking. Thank goodness it didn’t happen, not to mention that we might have had to hitchhike back to Toronto.

On our way through the gate, I saw a table full of liquids. Due to new airline regulations, there is no point in bringing water on board (or, in my daughter’s case, her lip gloss). While I was in the Calgary Airport speaking with the Barista (Starbucks language, referring to the person who serves you at a coffee shop) I noticed a lot of lonely bottles of water sitting on their shelves. "How are sales?” I asked. Great for cookies and CD’s, but not for coffee and drinks. Liquids and airports don’t mix that easily these days. I joked to my wife, pretty soon we are going to have to fly naked!

Well, not according to the airport screening authority. They are introducing SPOT. No, it’s not a new type of dog. SPOT stands for Screening PAssengers by Observation Techniques. The Israeli airport security have been using this technique for a number of years. They don’t need to look at your bags – they look at your face.

This sounds a lot like a job interview. Research involving job interviews showed that the interviewer relies heavily on the following information:

55% visual impact (dress, facial expressions and body language);

38% tone of voice; and only

7% from what you actually say.

Officers (or in a job interview, HR Managers) look for facial expressions, body and eye movements, change in vocal pitch and other indicators of stress. “The questions themselves are not significant, it is how the person answers that shows whether they are telling the truth” said Thomas Robins, Chief of Security at Logan Airport. I know from my many years of recruitment that my decision whether to pass a candidate on to a client was based on what I really thought the person had to offer, not what they told me.

The good news is that you can still take a bottle of water to an interview!

This week’s 10 minute WORKout:

Take a few minutes to think about your last job interview. What was your confidence like? How well prepared were you – about the company and the role? What did you truly think of the opportunity? What could you do to be better prepared for your next interview?

Along the road with you,

Alan Kearns