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Short cut to the truth

Ruth Fenton from “Inspired Star” explores the benefits of HR professionals learning and applying body language recognition to the work place.

Ruth Fenton from “Inspired Star” explores the benefits of HR professionals learning and applying body language recognition to the work place. 

Fed up of not know whether people are telling the truth or not? Want to increase you emotional intelligence and take your career to the next level? HR professionals are now taking advantage of learning facial expressions (Micro Expressions) to help their colleagues and further their careers. Over 50 years of research has gone into Micro Expression recognition by leading experts such as Friesen, Haggard, Isaacs, Ekman and Wezowski. You may have seen the US Crime Drama “Lie to me” which is based on Micro Expression recognition.

Micro Expressions are between 1/15 and 1/25 of a second movement of the facial muscles whichoccur when someone has repressed feelings about a subject or they are deliberating trying to conceal their feelings. Recognising facial expressions has many benefits for example: Increasing Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and becoming more empathic because you can spot the feelings of others. But why are Micro Expressions and Emotional Intelligence so important to HR Professionals? Daniel Goleman noted in the Harvard Business Review that “Emotional Intelligence is twice as important as technical and cognitive skills combined for a successful career”.

Learning Micro Expressions and increasing emotional intelligence means an HR Professional is better equipped to:  

– Detect when candidates are lying on their CV

– Resolve workplace conflicts

– Deal with staff tragedies and crisis

– Uncover hidden agendas

– Negotiating employment terms

– Build stronger rapport with stakeholders

Add to these specialist techniques in language patterns and recognising body language and an HR Professional will excel in their career.

Interviews are a stressful time for everyone involved. Candidates often rehearse typical questions they might be asked so they can come up with an answer they know the interviewers would like to hear. Sometimes answers are exaggerated or just made up. Interviewers are often busy writing down the candidate’s answers and not looking at the face of the candidate. This means they are missing vital clues to the accuracy of the information they are being told.

Once HR professionals change their interviewing strategies and learn Micro Expressions they are able to shorten job interviews as they can ascertain key skills and knowledge in ½ the time and check how a candidate really feels about the prospective job, past employers etc. Reading body language and Micro Expressions are much more accurate than the words the candidate says. When an interviewer sees a certain emotion on a candidates face they can use certain questions and assumptions to get the candidate to repeat the expression or react unconsciously to a statement. This gives the HR professionals a clear indication of what is really going on inside the candidate. This stops the candidate reciting pre learnt question answers.

Here’s an example of how it works; the candidate says “my previous employer was pleased with my work on that project”. The interviewer sees anger on the face of the candidate when he mentions “my previous employer” this indicates the candidate maybe angry towards his previous employer. So to check this the interviewer could say “why was your previous employer pleased with your work on that project?” chances are when the interviewer says “previous employer” the facial expression of anger will briefly appear again to confirm there are further questions which need to be asked around the topic of the previous employer. 

Of course using body language and facial expressions does have some caveats. Signals need to be read in combinations, a baseline of the person established, signals read in context etc. For example a candidate could be nervous not because they are making up answers, just because it’s a stressful situation. The room temperature could be too cold causing the candidate to exhibit closed body language, not because they are shutting the interviewers out. If a person has had Botox or facial surgery this can also affect what facial expressions they exhibit.

Being more in-tune with the thoughts and feelings of other builds stronger relationships. Training all members of staff in facial expressions will improve relationships with colleagues and clients. Clients will receive a better experience and feel their needs have been taken care of in a more authentic way. In turn this can lead to increase productivity of the team and more sales. Recognising, understanding and appreciating the feelings of our fellow humans really does make a difference to people's lives. Learning Micro Expressions is fun and rewarding and an essential skill for any HR Professional.

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Transforming employee engagement in a dynamic world

19 June 2024


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