“Kinesics refers to all the forms of body movement…. that may act as nonverbal communication” Burgoon et al (1978) p. 54 in an interview if the applicant crosses their arms it could be a signal of rejection or being bored. Hartley (1999) p. 153 suggest that the kinesics that reveal that somebody is lying in a job interview are “grasping the chair too tightly and scratching their nose” When looking at NVC it’s important to note that only remembering a few key signals may not actually provide an accurate state of the applicant, it’s more reasonable to judge on a group of signals.
For example hands on the lap (Kinesics) and a clear and concise voice (Paralinguistics) could suggest a confident applicant whereas just looking at the paralinguistics on their own doesn’t supply a logical thesis. In an interview situation it’s not unusual for a interviewee to blush, sweat, tremble or fidget these are all “spontaneous and outside the control of the individual” Hargie (1994) p.
39 what the interviewer needs to conclude is whether these signs of nerves are due to the interview and if they will affect the job, for example a highly competitive job in sales would probably not suit an applicant who shows high levels of nerves and couldn’t maintain eye contact throughout the interview. The role of the eyes in NVC can be referred to as Osculesics, “The use of a steady, direct gaze also connotes status and is a privilege of rank” Burgoon et al (1978) p. 67
A lot of the behaviours that applicants reveal can be referred to as ‘social leakage’ “These are all forms of ‘social leakage’ which can be avoided if interviewees are encouraged to ‘anchor’ their hands on either the arms of the chair or on their lap” Hargie (1994) p. 47 If mirror imaging is taken into account then the best approach to an interview is for both the interviewer and interviewee to anchor their hands on their lap as it could limit the amount of ambiguous nonverbal signals being sent out by both parties.
The way people present their nonverbal behaviours can be differentiated from different cultures although Darwin has suggested that facial expressions and other NVC could in fact be universal, he proved this by taking photographs of the same men to different parts of the world and recording the foreigners reaction “Men of all races frown when they are in any perplexed thought, (Australians, Malays, Hindoos and Kafirs of South Africa) Darwin (1889) p.
201 Darwin’s work could suggest that culture is not an immense barrier in the basics of NVC but there is evidence to suggest that there is a cultural difference “Crossing legs over at the knee is the standard British and European leg cross whereas putting one foot on top of the opposite knee is a more American style” Hartley (1999) p. 167 In every interview situation culture should be taken into account to eliminate the interviewer conveying NVC that could be interpreted as rude to the applicant. Can appearing ‘attractive’ actually influence recruitment decisions?
Some would say Yes, this is called physiognomy which is where the appearance of the face gives insights into character and personality, Darwin (1889) p. 163 The way people actually present their appearance during an interview can actually determine whether they get the job or not “Before we open our mouth to speak our physical appearance conveys a great deal of information” Hargie et al (2004) p. 45 Hargie continues with making reference to how the more attractive people are seen as intelligent, confident and outgoing.
This poses the question of whether ‘ugly’ people are at a disadvantage before they even commence the interview. Another misconception is that tall men are more competent than small, this has been noted in Hargie’s (2004) and Hinton (1993) research and that wearing glasses can make a positive impact “women appeared more honest wearing glasses” Hinton (1993) p. 18. This form of stereotyping can be called the ‘halo effect’ “where a person judges someone highly on one personality, then this can result in them rating the same person highly on a range of characteristics” (Thorndike, 1936) cited in Hinton (1993) p. 126
By videoing interviews, interviewers can use it as a tool in aiding their decisions, in the actual interview situation there is a constant overload of NVC which means it’s near to impossible for the interviewer to take in and interpret the NVC the applicant uses. By recording the interview a more in depth analysis can take place and it could reveal the real characteristics of the applicant. Videoing interviews can also aid the interviewer and give them a chance to study their own cues and how they interact with the applicant, peoples own perceptions of themselves are often somewhat different to how others regard that person.
The issue with recording interviews is, if they let the applicant know they are being recorded? because if they do then the applicant may not behave in the same way, also this tool borders the issue of living in a ‘big brother state’. When an interviewer isn’t confident in their interviewing skills it is apparent that they will send out unconstructive nonverbal behaviours which can then act as cues to the applicant to also use the ‘mirror imaging’ effect and also send out negative cues “They may express attributes which bias the question because they convey an implication which contradicts the words” Keats (2000) p.
44 Telephone interviews automatically dispel the amount of NVC being used as the paralinguistics are the only forms of communication. Telephone interviews are commonly used before an actual interview but the interviewer can get information from the applicants ‘vocal characteristics’ this can include accents and clarity of the voice. The tone of the interviewers voice can also make an impact on how the applicant communicates their answers “The tone of voice can raise a doubt, suggest incredulity, agreement or disagreement – all without changing a word” Keats (2000) p.
45 To achieve the best outcome it would be very useful if managers could separate themselves from their ‘usual self’ when conducting interviews, this is because there a tendency for employers to recruit people based on characteristics similar to their own “the conclusion seems to be that the interviewer is likely to compare the applicant with him or herself rather than with a job derived profile” Herriot (1987) p.
14 interviewers are also likely to compare applicants to each other “If information is presented successively, then contrast effects occur as the judge is trying to decide on the attractiveness of each face relative to the previously presented faces” Hinton (1993) p. 38 this suggests that interviews should not be done one after another but be spaced out. Structure is vital when conducting interviews to allow for non bias results.
There is evidence to support the fact that a structured interview gives better results this is because an unstructured interview can verge on being a normal interaction between two people and the so the topics discussed an the manner which is approached would be inappropriate for an interview “Where the interview is in its usual relatively unstructured form, validity and reliability are poor” Herroit (1987) p.
141 The structure of the interview should be made aware to all applicants for example a briefing could be given on dress code because it would make the applicant more comfortable and therefore limits the NVC being connected to the environment and so the NVC being used would relate more to the personality of the person. Various efforts have made, with some success, to so structure the interview as to increase these low coefficients (0.
14 derived from Dunnette & Reilly and Chao) Herriot (1987) p. 141 Structure of an interview could also reduce the impact that the halo effect has on the interviewer, if there is a reasonable space between interviews, there is a smaller chance of the interviewer comparing applicants on the smaller behaviours. “Seating arrangements that place people far from each other may force them to use more exaggerated gestures” Burgoon et al (1978) p.
121 The way the seating is arranged can affect the NVC being used for example sitting to close can make the applicant uncomfortable and therefore send out negative signals, how the space affects behaviour is referred to as ‘Proxemics’. Hargie et al (1994) mentions some arrangements that interviewers should adopt in order to relax their applicants which include easy-type chairs near a window, plants and coffee tables.