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Hire the Right Person: 4 Ways to Decode Body Language

Unprofessional hires
Article Highlights:

  • Decrease employee turnover by hiring the right person the first time.
  • Body language tells a lot about what a person won't say.

According to an NADA, dealership employee turnover is hovering around 39%. Replacing just one of those employees cost on average $82,500.

This begs the question – are you hiring the right employees?

When you walk into your next candidate interview, take a step back and look at his body language. Body language can tell a lot about a person, especially what he is thinking, but won’t say.

Here are some of the basics:


If a candidate is mimicking your movements, he is mirroring. For example, if you were to move toward him, he does the same towards you. A mirroring candidate often shows his interest in the conversation by following the interviewer’s movements. If your torso moves in, his does as well, in the same way. He will follow this pattern throughout the entire interview.

A candidate who mirrors often develops a higher sense of trust and empathy throughout the interview process. Research shows the other person feels safe and comfortable, resulting in a better interview.

As an interviewer, you can also practice this if you have a nervous candidate. This can calm him down and get him to open up.


As an interviewer, you know when a candidate is not being 100% truthful. Look at her facial expressions, torso placement, and feet. An open candidate will have a calm facial expression, with her torso directly in front of you, and her feet solidly on the ground (no shaking or bouncing).

A guarded candidate often turns away as if she is hiding something. Her feet move up and down rapidly and her torso angles to the side, almost blocking yours. Her facial expression is frantic because she may be trying to hide something.

Power Poses

Power poses are a reflection of how your candidate will handle office situations. The way she sits can determine if she is a leader or a follower.

Hire-the-Right-Person 02
A relaxed candidate often holds a high-power pose. His shoulders are back with a straight posture and he is calm. He is confident in his skills and has nothing to hide. Often he speaks openly about his past experiences and easily answers some of those “tough” questions most candidates gets stuck on.

Hire-the-Right-Person 01

A nervous or guarded candidate tends to display a low-power pose. He shrinks into his chair, slouches, and seems uninterested. He isn’t focused on what is going on, he is preparing how to get around the next question.


When compared side by side you can see the difference. Notice the woman and man on the left show interest in the conversation with interactive poses. The woman on the right seems uninterested. This should be a red flag.

Eye Contact

“The windows to the soul” can often tell you a lot more than you think. Candidates’ eyes are road-maps into their minds. Make sure there is plenty of eye contact during the interview, but not too much. Constant eye contact can be uncomfortable for both parties.

If a candidate is lying she often looks to the side or avoids eye contact all together. A truthful candidate answers a question while directly looking at her interviewer.


Don’t overlook body language. It can tell you a whole lot more than words ever could. Before you hold your next interview, take a second and interact with some of your employees. Ask them questions and see if you can interpret exactly what they are thinking and feeling through their body language.


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Amy received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the Honors Tutorial College at Ohio University in 2014. She is the former Personnel Manager of AVW Productions, and worked with Reynolds as part of the Marketing Communications team.

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