Body Language Tips for Candidates During Video Interviews

Body Language Tips for Candidates During Video Interviews

by Melissa Bissing on September 4, 2019

2.5 min read

Use these quick body language tips for candidates to ensure you’re sending the right message to candidates during video interviews and putting them at ease.

First impressions are more likely to be made virtually these days, especially in recruiting. In video interviews, your body language can elevate or distract from the outstanding candidate experience you’ve worked so hard to create. That’s because despite the shift to the candidate-driven market, your interviewees are still taking their cues from your non-verbal signs, even on the most subtle levels. If your candidates aren’t feeling comfortable and respected, they’re less inclined to stay interested in your role and interview process.  Use these quick body language tips for candidates to ensure you’re sending the right message to candidates during video interviews and putting them at ease.

#1: Eye contact is make or break: You’re used to maintaining strong eye contact with candidates in on-site discussions, so do the same with video interviews. The key is being sure to look at the camera, wherever it is located on your computer or mobile device, so your candidate feels the personal connection. Test video interviewing with a colleague so you know exactly where to look on your phone screen or computer.

Good eye contact shows candidates they have your full attention, and creates an emotional link that can lead to feelings of empathy and liking. When your head is raised and you’re making eye contact, it tells candidates you’re relaxed and confident – feelings they should mirror too. If you plan to use the built-in notepad and rating features in your interviewing platform, you can let candidates know so they understand where your glance is going from time to time.

#2: Sit or stand? Either way is fine and it’s better to choose a position that’s comfortable for you.  If you sit, be sure to sit up straight – slouching or resting your elbows on the desk can be interpreted by candidates as a lack of interest, or boredom with your work. Lean in slightly to show you are engaged in the discussion. If you like to use a standing desk, make it a priority to stand straight up and straight on during video interviews. Avoid the temptation to shift your weight from foot to foot, or to pace if you’re using your mobile device.  

#3: What to do with your hands and arms: Whether you’re sitting or standing, crossing your arms over your body is a sign you’re feeling skeptical, uncomfortable, or even wishing the interview was over. Candidates can quickly pick up any of those impressions, even if that’s not your intent. Aim for having relaxed arms at your sides for most of the discussion, and be mindful of how often you use gestures or talk with your hands as it can be distracting. Same goes with habits you have without even realizing it, like playing with your tie or necklace, wringing your hands, or drumming your fingers on your desk.

#4: The power of a genuine smile: A genuine smile can convey so many things that contribute to a positive interview experience for your candidates, even if they aren’t your perfect hire. That list includes approval, understanding, satisfaction and acceptance, just to name a few. When you start your interview with a genuine smile, you can reduce your candidates’ stress and even lift your own mood.  You set the tone for an interview that’s going to be productive for you and your candidate.  Wrap up with another genuine smile to show your appreciation for the time and effort they’ve given during the interview.

Using of all of these body language tips for candidates will help you maintain your candidate-centric focus and improve the video interview experience for your candidates, so they’re able to make their best impression on you.

New Brandon Hall Group research indicates that mature interviewing practices which integrate video make more than twice the impact when it comes to quality of hire. To benchmark your organization’s interview practices against the research and access the white paper, click here

Find out how to continue to make every interaction with candidates positive and memorable even after using the body language tips for candidates