Darkened Software

Archive for February, 2011

Job Interviews: People that close their eyes a little to much

by on Feb.04, 2011, under Interviews

I had and interview candidate that closed his eyes quite a bit during the interview.  I was not really sure what to make of it so I watched it for patterns and found that it happened often at the very start of his answers for a couple of seconds and occasionally during the middle of a sentence when he was suppose to be switching from overview to details.  Still not sure how to interpret this odd behavior I just made a note to research it afterward and move on.

Several papers on psychology later there seems to be two possible answers:

  • People that try to  visualize a problem might close their eyes for a second to help them focus on only seeing their representation of the problem in their mind.
  • People that are not confident or even scared of the results of their actions will close their eyes so they can delay having to respond or deal with the outcome.

If the eye closing behavior only happened just before they answered the question then the first explanation of visualizing their response to your question would make a lot of sense.  But given he was doing this as he responded to a question or as he needing to provide details that he would later have to defend the second explanation of lacking confidence make a lot more sense.

In this case the interview was going so badly that we did not need any more re-enforcement that the candidate was in way over their head.  But in interviews with more open ended answers to questions this could be a great indicator that although the answer sounds plausible the interviewee is just trying to run a “Hail Mary” response by you.

Related is if you do notice issues in their story do not start questioning the issue right away.  Make detailed notes but save up all the possible inconsistencies till the end and come back to them when you have got the full story already.  If they are being deceptive then putting time between their original signal and when you question them makes it less likely they will realize what gave it away and the time gives them more chances to mess up as they have to try and remember what they originally told you.

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