Tells Are Not Just For Poker Players

Tells Are Not Just For Poker Players

Tells are not just for poker players

Some call it a gut feeling. Some call it intuition. However we label it, many of us trust an inner voice in making important decisions.  Should this not-quite-conscious input play a part in hiring decisions?

I would suggest we trust – but verify.

Gut feelings are valid in the sense that you can think of them as the result of super-rapid data processing. We take in an enormous amount of information and we do it quickly. So that vague “feeling’ you get about a candidate could reflect body language and behavioral cues you read quite accurately.

A candidate lying about their experience may include inconsistencies, contradictions or unnecessary and unsolicited detail in what they say. What may be harder to isolate and identify are the fleeting looks and gestures psychologists call micro-expressions. These are involuntary yet revealing facial expressions that cannot be faked. Micro-expressions include smiles that last too long, an emotional “disconnect” between eyes and lips, subtle nods of the head, raised brows and tension around the eyes and mouth.

Those of us who gravitate to people-oriented professions, including Human Resources professionals, may be more adept at “reading” people than the general population, but there are three potential pitfalls:

  1. The FBI estimates that about 4% of the population is highly skilled at lying. Their dishonesty would be difficult to detect even by very sensitive observers, especially with limited exposure.
  2. Our reaction to an individual can be unconsciously colored by an individual’s resemblance to another person we like and trust – or someone with whom we have had negative experiences.
  3. While psychologists have identified at least seven universal micro-expressions, body language should be interpreted against an individual baseline. We may jump to out-of-context conclusions by generalizing. For example, a wrinkled brow could communicate annoyance. It could also mean a given individual has decided not to wear his glasses during the interview.

Video interviews provided by Staffing Evolution allow you to get a sense of the personality and communication skills of each candidate. Sharing these videos to gain several perspectives helps you avoid any personal blind spots and may even serve as a tool to sharpen your own people-reading skills

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