I wanted to be optimistic, positive. I had driven to Indianapolis, for a job interview as a traveling rep. Wanting to show my drive and desire to succeed in the interview, I rehearsed one statement over and over on the two-plus hour drive. I had read it in a book somewhere and thought it clever. I just had to find the right place to slip it into the interview. Near the end of the interview, I found my opening and blurted out, “I’m the kind of guy, that if you send me out after Moby Dick, I’ll take a jar of tartar sauce and a butter knife.”

Instantly, the atmosphere in the room changed. My clever statement was more like a pin popping a balloon. Every bit of breathable air was instantly sucked out of that room like air out of a popped balloon. I was young, but it was obvious. The faces of the two men interviewing me let me know instantly they knew the words coming out of my mouth were not me. I walked out of the office deflated (no pun intended). I knew I would not get the job or a call-back for a second interview.

I never used that line in an interview again. I still think it was clever. But it wasn’t me. It was totally out of character and I’m certain my body language and my words were miles apart that morning. I drove back to Kentucky licking my wounds, beating myself up for the foolish blunder that I thought would be a clever job landing statement.

Beginning a couple of years later for about fourteen years I conducted more than 5,000 interviews for the companies I worked for. I began studying body language, facial expressions, voice tones and fluctuation, usage of wording, and how it all fits together. It has been a fascinating journey. And now, I get to teach some of it to others. I absolutely love it, watching people’s faces, expressions, and body language as they learn what their body is actually communicating.

Interviewing candidates for any position (volunteer or paid) I always look for the drive in the person. Whether high or low drive, it will come across in an interview. Not in their words alone, but the excitement in her voice, the positive shoulder movement and open gestures being displayed by the body. Certainly, words can play a part, yet our words only make up seven percent of what we communicate. A person with drive to perform at exceeding levels will always communicate this sitting in the interview. Some characteristics; sitting up near the front edge of the chair, leaning forward, open postures with shoulders, hands and positive facial expressions. Any person without the passion to perform at exceeding levels will also communicate his inabilities. Some characteristics include; shoulders rolled forward, hands clasped in lap or under thighs as if hidden, poor eye contact. Your body will communicate what is inside – no matter how clever your words.

Looking for drive in an interviewee is only one aspect of what to look for. I also look for energy, passion, and the ability to communicate and execute for the desired position. Whether you are seeking volunteers or paid employees, there is much to be learned that will save time and energy and insure you are filling positions with the right people. To learn more of this fascinating communication intellect feel free to contact George Yates.

By the way no one has ever used the Moby Dick analogy in an interview with me.

George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.

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