197. The Things Left Unsaid
You can learn a lot about a company from one conversation
I’m slumped on the couch, my legs up on a rickety table. What does that say about me?
Does it mean I’m lazy? Does it indicate I’m a bad liar? Does this pose reveal my fear of yellow-colored jelly bellys?
I’ve been reading quite a bit about body language of late. So now, of course, I’m completely self-conscious about how I stand. And sit. And lay slumped on the couch with my feet on a rickety table.
I should probably stop reading about it. But I can’t. It’s too damn interesting. Plus, I love overanalyzing things. It’s one of my signature traits.
The truth is, you can tell a lot about a person by watching their body language.
Next time you’re talking to somebody, take a gander at their feet. If the feet are pointing towards you, they’re interested in the conversation. Pointing towards the door or another group of people? Let them leave.
And then there are the eyes. Oh, don’t get me started on the eyes.
You know those people that look away and to the side when you’re talking instead of into your eyes? Welp, they don’t care what you’re saying.
If they look up and to the left, they are trying to recall a memory. If they look up and to the right, they’re trying to use their imagination.
But it’s when they blink faster and touch their face that is the problem. That fool is downright lying to you.
My point being, you can tell a lot about a person far beyond the words that are spoken, as long as you know the signs.
As it turns out, this can also be applied to companies.
Reading Between The Interview
Body language isn’t just about understanding people. Companies also reveal a lot of things in their unspoken language.
Whether it’s communication with customer support, a sales call, or any other interaction, if you know the signs you can know the company.
One of the best examples of this is with the interview process.
You can tell a lot about a company after just one job interview.
Even just a wee glimpse into the company behavior can unlock a large closet full of knowledge.
Check out these examples:
1. Communication + Relationships
The way the interviewer communicates with you can reveal a lot about the internal communication style of the organization.
How easy was it to schedule the interview? How quick was their response to your thank you note?
Customer-centric companies know that rapid response times and solution-focused actions are what make people feel valued.
The speed of communication and the ease of scheduling your interview will give you insight into how much the company values and prioritizes relationships.
An organization’s level of transparency is defined by the behavior of the senior leadership.
Highly transparent leaders breed highly transparent cultures.
You can gain insight into the level of transparency in a company’s culture by assessing what was - and wasn’t - said in your first interview.
How clear were they on the interview process?
Transparent companies tend to be extremely clear on the process and how long they expect it to take.
How did they answer - or deflect - your most difficult questions?
It’s sometimes good to ask a question or two that would reveal transparency. For instance, “what are company revenues this year? Are they higher or lower than last year?”
Oftentimes it’s not what they say in their answer that matters but, rather, the things they don’t say.
The most productive and innovative companies are filled with good decision-makers. In fact, speed in decision-making is a leading indicator of a company’s productivity.
After all, the faster you make decisions, the more time you have to create impact.
In this way, how a company makes decisions is a leading indicator of its innovation and agility.
So tell me, after your first interview, how quickly did they get back to you with next steps? Did they adhere to their timeline for a response?
How efficiently did they make decisions in the process of communicating with you?
Get empowered to build a better company.
It’s really easy to focus solely on the words people say. But it’s also important to remember all the information that exists beyond the words. It’s sitting there, as long as you know where to look for it.
Just don’t look for it at my feet. I’m scared to know what secrets they’ll give up.
A Somewhat Relevant Quote
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said."
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