As leading executive placement consultants in Sacramento, CA, Pacific ExecSearch knows that body language can speak volumes when it comes to interviewing executive candidates. Regardless of what a candidate says, their body language can convey authenticity, warmth and confidence…or it can communicate arrogance or inexperience.

Clearly, non-verbal cues – such as a lack of eye contact and poor posture – are red flags to be on the lookout for. But what are some other, more subtle signs to be aware of when evaluating leadership candidates? Consider these:

Head tilt.

When a candidate is talking to you, they should be looking at you straight on, not tilting their head to one side. Why? According to body language experts, tilting your head to one side exposes your neck, making a candidate appear vulnerable and submissive. And when a candidate continuously cocks their head to one side, it may be due to uncertainty.

Head nodding.

Head nodding is fine once in a while. And in fact, an occasional nod makes it seem like a candidate is listening to and encouraging you. However, when it becomes excessive, it’s a problem because it doesn’t demonstrate authority.


Some smiling is a good thing. However, too much smiling makes a candidate appear weak. The best candidates typically smile at the right times, not all the time. That means at the start of an interview when they’re first meeting you and at the end, as they’re saying good-bye.

Hands and arms.

Hand and arm body language can reveal what a candidate doesn’t say with words. For instance, when a candidate has their arms crossed, it sends the signal that they’re feeling defensive. Likewise, if they’re fidgeting, it’s probably due to nerves, anxiety, and insecurity.

Facial expression.

Effective leaders need to be passionate and enthusiastic about their vision. So if you’re interviewing a candidate who gives you a dead pan stare and doesn’t seem all that excited about the opportunity, then how are they going to inspire an entire team of people? The answer: they won’t.

Remember, a company executive is going to interact with subordinates, peers, higher ups, customers and other important stakeholders. So it’s important you hire someone who knows how to send the right message with what they say…and what they don’t.

Do you need help finding top executive talent for your team? As leading executive placement consultants in Sacramento, CA, our experienced recruiters know how to source, evaluate and help companies hire mission critical professionals for top positions.

To learn more about how we can assist your organization, please contact us today.