by Jesse de Agustin | @emonalytics
Measuring subconscious emotional responses are not only useful when engaging a customer group but also when hiring employees. Traditional personality surveys, behavioral questioning, both in discussion and survey formats, and computerized software give limited applicant insight. Applicant tracking systems are powerful tools; yet especially with organization’s increasing emphasis on ensuring culture fit, the face to face interview is critical – because this is where emotion – both conscious and subconscious are center stage. Interviewers might be aware of how to ‘read’ generalities of body language, but the advice is often incorrect. For instance, just become someone looks down, doesn’t mean they’re hiding something.
The typical human resources practices are in need of optimization in terms of how they’re targeted at understanding actual human behavior.
Optimizing Human Resource’s Resources
Personality tests are often used in the hiring process, and are typically administered online. They attempt to delve into specific traits that apply to applicant’s behavior at work, and interpersonal behavior.  While these tests can be useful for jobs where teamwork is important, applicants can also easily “fake” responses based upon social norms, or what they believe the employer is “looking for.” Moreover, an eye tracking study shows that all ‘dimensions of personality were fakeable.’ The study found that “faking” a response is, on average is faster than answering honestly, representing lower cognitive load.  Overall, this research speaks to the subconscious bias we are subject to when taking these personality tests yet this study speaks to the unconscious biases we’re all subject to when taking these type of self assessment tests.
Behavioral interviewing requires reflection upon a past experience, by sharing the Situation, Task, Action, and Result. (STAR method)
Yet here’s the catch – behavioral interviewing requires a candidate to think about and interpret their response, and as a result interviewers seldom look at nonverbal facial expressions that accompany the verbal responses.
Training interviewers to recognize nonverbal expressions of emotion not only provides additional context to verbatim response, but also creates a more engaging, and relaxing interview experience for each candidate. If interviewers are trained to recognize nonverbal facial expressions, this provides an opportunity to probe into an applicant’s answer, and find out additional information into the subconscious emotion that accompanied the verbal response. This also allows each interview to move away from a scripted “Q&A” interaction, and empower interviewers to ask deep questions based on what’s said and a candidate’s nonverbal behavior.
For instance, if an applicant tells a time about when he or she worked with a team to accomplish a project, an interviewer who is aware of facial expressions can identify a microexpression of disgust, or fear, for instance, even though the applicant expressed joy and happiness in working with a team. Microexpressions are quick flashes of emotion across the face that tell us the emotion that’s felt at the particular moment. Understanding microexpressions helps us shed light onto the trigger of the expression, and gives an ability to bridge the gap between spoken and nonverbal communication.
Works Cited  Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology, inc. “Types of Employment Tests” http://www.siop.org/workplace/employmenttesting/testtypes.aspx  Hooft, Edwin Van; Marise Ph. (2012) Born Intentional Response Distortion on Personality Tests: Using Eye-Tracking to Understand Response Processes When Faking Journal of Applied Psychology 97(2) 301-316  Lievens, F., & Sackett, P.R., (2012) The validity of interpersonal skills assessment via situational judgment tests for predictinve academic success and job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(2), 460-468