Things you can tell about an interviewee before they say a word

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By Reggie Moore

As a small business owner, you will be interviewing many prospective employees. Some will impress you with their qualifications and experience; others have the skills but may not seem as impressive in person. The candidate who appears on paper to have all of the qualifications, however, can fall flat during an actual interview, while another candidate with lesser credentials can make a good impression and come across as a strong candidate.

To help streamline the interview process, here are some characteristics to look for in a candidate before they even open their mouth during an interview.

Body language

The body language of a person can tell you clues about how they will behave on the job. If they have poor posture or a nervous habit, they could be prone to anxiety problems that could result in mistakes on the job. Someone with a confident posture and a relaxed way of behaving during the interview will likely be able to demonstrate this same demeanor in stressful situations on the job.

A person’s handshake can often tell you a lot about them. A confident handshake is often firm but not too stiff. While the perfect interviewee might have a casual greeting, they will still greet you with a sincere expression on their face and genuine eye contact.


You should also take note of your interviewee’s clothing. Clothing with holes or stains may indicate a lack of basic grooming and could also mean that they are not detail-oriented. Appropriate clothing can make you feel more comfortable when you present yourself to a prospective employer, so pay attention to your interviewee’s dress.

In addition, observe the colorfulness of your candidate’s clothing. Someone who wears drab colors is likely someone who would be less fun to be around and have less personality. You may want to hire someone who has a strong wardrobe, but remember that it is okay if they are not fashion-forward; what matters most is that they picked their outfit that is suitable for the position they’re applying for.


The way people smell can also influence how you feel about them. A pleasant scent and clean breath mean that someone takes care of their appearance and is interested in impressing potential employers. Candidates who put in the effort to take care of their appearance are likely to pay attention to details and do good work on the job.

Someone who smells strongly of body odor or heavy cologne may not be aware that they are offending other people. This person will probably be around customers and other employees, so if they are unpleasant to be standing next to, they could pose a problem for the company.

A proper example

Take a look around your office or place of business and try to identify the characteristics that make a good employee. Notice how they present themselves and pick out a few qualities that you think are most important. Ask yourself if those characteristics were present in the interviewee, and then ask yourself why or why not they were there. If someone is missing something that is important to you, it may be because they have different priorities for themselves than what would best suit their job.

This will help you eliminate the majority of bad candidates before they even sit down to begin the interview. The most important part of interviewing is not just making decisions about who gets hired. It should also be about helping a person who is a good fit for the job to find their ideal career. Whether you are looking for facility management services, frontline staff, or sales representatives, keep these things in mind about who you hire to do the job.


Reggie Moore is a professional writer and proto-entrepreneur. When not trying to tinker with a new thing, process, or idea, Reggie can usually be found saying the words “Well, actually…” to an unsuspecting bystander.

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