We Are Not Clairvoyant

I had a discussion with a hiring manager at the Better Software conference this week. He claimed he could tell what candidates were thinking from their facial expressions.I asked him what I was thinking. He said, “You look pleasant, smiling, as if you’re agreeing with me.” I laughed out loud and said, “Nothing could be further from the truth.” We talked about how some people have control over their expressions and that body language or facial expressions are not good indications of what’s going on inside.

If my husband of over 20 years can’t tell what I’m thinking (and poor guy–he can’t :-), how can anyone else tell? Let’s leave the clairvoyance to the so-called psychics. In interviews, let’s ask great behavior-description questions and ask candidates to perform auditions, and evaluate people based on data, not what we think the candidate is thinking or saying.

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