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By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.

Helen Hunt Jackson - September
The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

John Updike, September
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Body Language at a Job Interview

FrankFrank ModeratorPosts: 5,952 mod
edited February 2016 in Work and Money
imageIt's been quite a while since I wrote my first article, Remembering Names, for English Magazine. Now you can read my second article for English Magazine, thanks to @Lynne who again edited the article.

You can find the new article here:
http://english-magazine.org/english-reading/business-english/3985-interview-body-language

The article is about Body Language at Job Interviews. If you are applying for a job this information might come in handy. If you're not a job seeker it's useful to learn some English words and phrases in relation to interviews and Body Language.

I'm curious about your experiences with this matter. Have you ever applied for a job? Were you nervous? Did you manage to make yourself feel comfortable? How did you introduce yourself? Do you think you made a good first impression? How did you portray yourself during the interview? What can you tell about the body language of the recruiter? Did you feel welcomed? Was he or she bossy?
Post edited by Frank on
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Comments

  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,024 mod
    I know I have sat in interviews conscious of how I was sitting and tips I had been given for what to do and not to do. I seemed to always get the jobs I interviewed for, so I must have been doing something right.
  • RemaRema Posts: 1,094 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Really educative and useful article. Thanks for these advice @Frank :)
    Marko
  • Thanks Frank, Excellent and useful advice, Allways We worried about how to write the application letter, the clothes that we should wear and how to conduct at the interview but also We should be aware of our body language.
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,058 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    I was the part of a recruitment team last year and we had interesting experiences related to the body language. One of our senior directors judged all the interviewees through his or her body language. Due to community based work, I learned it practically and believe me it works. Sometimes, you don't need to ask questions as facial moments tell you everything.
    Thank you Frank for some good insights. :)
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,058 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    I will definitely consider this topic for the next Business Buzz session. :)
  • madhugmadhug Posts: 357 ✭✭✭
    Good article, Good posture and eye contact is more important while interviewing.
  • jasonnguyenjasonnguyen Posts: 2
    i appreciated that. This is a perfect article for job interview.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,024 mod
    The American detective series 'Lie to me' is quite an interesting take on facial expressions and how they give away a lot. It might be worth taking note as it doesn't do to lie in interviews!
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,058 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge I think that 'Sherlock Homles' with Benedict Cumberbatch tells more about the body language as compared to 'Lie to me'. :)
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 5,952 mod
    edited March 2016
    You might not believe it, but I am not a great fan of 'Lie to me' @mheredge @Bubbly. The protagonist of the series, Dr. Cal Lightman, is based on Paul Ekman, a psychologist that is renown for his research on body language and lying. In the series this person draws a lot of quick conclusions from facial expressions. In a split second he seems to be able to see if someone is lying or not. And there lies the problem. The use of body language as a lie-detector is quite exagerated in the series. That gives people the false idea that it is indeed possible to judge the credibility of people by their body language. In fact you can't that easily draw conclusions about lying from body language alone, without knowing more of the context, etcetera. Body language can tell something about someone’s physical tension and emotions. However it doesn't say anything about the reason for these tensions and emotions e.g. lying or uncertainty for another reason. For example: a watch has been stolen. If someone askes you directly if you were the one who stole the watch, you might show a frightened facial expression. Then the questioner could recognise your tension and the emotion (fear) you portrayed. But this emotion could have been evoked by either guilt (when you did steal the watch indeed) or by the fear that people won't believe you (when you didn't steal the watch at all). The emotion you portrayed (fear/fright) in either situation (you were the culprit or you were not) was the same, but it had been evoked by a different cause. Nor your physical tention nor the emotion you conveyed proved that you were lying. It's the same as with a lie detector (polygraph) that you can't draw conclusions about lying that easily. If you're taken into custody and are interrogated about a crime, you might be as tentioned as the real perpetrator. Only when a suspect tries to hide information where only he/she is aware of, you could see tensions and emotions that other people won't have in the same situation.
    Post edited by Frank on
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,024 mod
    I agree that they take thing too far @Frank. I would have thought any kind of stress or nervousness could make a person appear to be lying. And people who know how, can also mislead lie detectors. It's quite entertaining, but after the third of fourth episode the novelty has worn off and I'm not very surprised that they have discontinued the series.
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,058 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Body language is usually paired up with other types of diagnostic techniques that need a lot research and knowledge. For entertainment and an initial knowledge, these series are worth watching but we cannot use them as a benchmark for real case studies. I enjoyed Sherlock Holmes especially when every aspect of personality is well tagged during the investigation. Lie to me didn't convince me due to the poor selection of the lead role. Anyhow, both series have their own set patterns with different contexts and themes.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,024 mod
    The acting in Sherlock is extremely good @Bubbly.
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,058 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge I think that Sherlock Holmes tried to make it more realistic compared to Lie to me. But, both characters are projected as antisocial personalities and I really couldn't get it.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,024 mod
    Sherlock was very eccentric @Bubbly, but also he used opium, do in effect was a junky! I don't think the character in Lie to Me is especially antisocial. He's maybe just an academic obsessed by his hobbyhorse.
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,058 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge yes it is.

    @Frank I still wonder whether we can see the dilated pupil actually in a short period of time in order to guess the emotions of a person.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,024 mod
    I think some people are very observant and notice these things @Bubbly. I'm not and it is all I can do to recall what colour clothes I'm wearing myself, let alone what another person was wearing yesterday.
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,058 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge with the passage of time, I became observant. Now I observe even body language and dress colour as well. Sometimes, it is difficult to relate a person with the kind of dress he or she wears. :) It needs a lot of training.
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 5,952 mod
    Bubbly said:

    @Frank I still wonder whether we can see the dilated pupil actually in a short period of time in order to guess the emotions of a person.

    That's difficult indeed if you try to observe this consciously @Bubbly. For example if you are engaged in a business conversation, it's hardly possible to focus on pupil dilatation or pupil constriction. However it can affect people at a subconscious level. Someone can get a gut feeling that the person he or she's talking with isn't sincere. If you ask this person what made him/her think that, they won't have the slightest idea. They won't reckon this were because of subconsciously perceived pupil constriction. In the same vain, potential lovers can consider someone to be attractive because of their pupil dilatation without having a clue at a conscious level.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,024 mod
    I have a friend whose pupils are always dilated (it's some weird affliction she's has since childhood). She'd be hard to measure @Bubbli!

    In Asia it is much more common for people to stare @Frank, so do you think maybe it's a bit easier to let your gaze linger a bit longer than in Europe?

    I think it is important to respect gut feeling. There are all sorts of other little signals to look out for too, like how fast they speak or mannerisms with their hands.
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,058 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge I have also noticed that there are people who can easily hide their expressions so that the next person cannot detect it. At this situation, it is difficult to judge someone through his or her body language.
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,058 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @Frank I usually focus on the smile of a person as it says a lot. Some people have a meaningful smile that even they are not aware of it.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,024 mod
    I look at a person's eyes when they smile @Bubbly. When it is a real smile, you see it there.
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,058 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge I do the same sometimes. But, majority of the time I shift it from eyes to lips and vice a versa. :)
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,024 mod
    Sometimes you don't even need to see the person actually smile @Bubbly. The lines around the eyes and mouth give away the sort of person they are!
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 5,952 mod
    edited March 2016
    mheredge said:

    I have a friend whose pupils are always dilated (it's some weird affliction she's has since childhood). She'd be hard to measure @Bubbli!

    She must be attractive because of her affliction @mheredge. There was a time that women sprayed drops of the Belladonna plant in their eyes to dilate their pupils, an effect considered to be attractive and seductive. If you ask people which woman in the picture is more attractive, most people will say it's the right one. The only difference is that her pupils are photo-shopped to make them larger.

  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 5,952 mod
    edited March 2016
    mheredge said:

    In Asia it is much more common for people to stare @Frank, so do you think maybe it's a bit easier to let your gaze linger a bit longer than in Europe?

    If people gaze at you, that doesn't mean it gives you more opportunity to judge pupil dilatation or constriction @mheredge. The reason for that is that when you are involved in a conversation, you fully have to attend to that process. That gives you hardly any time to assess the eyes. If people stare it can be even more difficult because staring makes (at least Western) people more nervous. If you really want to draw conclusions from pupil movements, you have to video-record the conversation. When you review the footage you can zoom in and/or pause. For an honest judgement, you also have to take the alteration of light into account.
    Post edited by Frank on
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 5,952 mod
    Bubbly said:

    @Frank I usually focus on the smile of a person as it says a lot. Some people have a meaningful smile that even they are not aware of it.

    When somebody smiles it doesn't always mean he or she is happy. Not every smile is the same and/or is conveyed for the same reason @Bubbly . You can smile:

    • to salute or greet
    • as a sign of recognition
    • for apology
    • as a form of politeness
    • as a sign of shyness or shame
    • for consolation
    • as an encouragement
    • to get control of your conversation
    • as a sign of admiration or love
    • because of nervousness
    • to distract someones attention
    • to hide your true feelings or thoughts

    The overarching meaning of a smile is: I'm friendly/I'm not a threat to you.
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 5,952 mod
    edited March 2016
    mheredge said:

    I look at a person's eyes when they smile @Bubbly. When it is a real smile, you see it there.

    You are right @mheredge. Here you see Paul Ekman portraying a genuine smile and a fake smile. The difference can be perceived best when you cover his mouth.

  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 5,952 mod
    edited March 2016
    Bubbly said:

    @mheredge I do the same sometimes. But, majority of the time I shift it from eyes to lips and vice a versa. :)

    This is what we call a social gaze @Bubbly. It's very friendly.

    There are three basic types of gazing: business gazing, intimate gazing and social gazing. Where you direct your gaze has a powerful impact on the outcome of your face-to-face encounter.


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