If your face fits, you'll get the job

Even the shape of your nose is important
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The Independent Online

You know you can do the job. You've got the qualifications, ample experience, and a history of selling yourself at interview. Trouble is that may no longer be enough. Eye movements, vocal inclination and style of writing are just a few of the things today's recruiters analyse to identify characteristics and behaviour they believe are necessary to surviving the role. If your nose is too big, your star sign is Virgo, or your handwriting slants, you may not stand a chance.

You know you can do the job. You've got the qualifications, ample experience, and a history of selling yourself at interview. Trouble is that may no longer be enough. Eye movements, vocal inclination and style of writing are just a few of the things today's recruiters analyse to identify characteristics and behaviour they believe are necessary to surviving the role. If your nose is too big, your star sign is Virgo, or your handwriting slants, you may not stand a chance.

Face reading is a particularly effective tool in recognising stress levels, claims Mac Fulfer, a professional analyser. "If there is a lot of white under the pupil, you know you've got an anxious and stressed-out candidate," says Mr Fulfer, who advises and trains employers and staff in the art of face reading, having as a lawyer in the US realised he could assess jurors' prejudices.

"If someone has a high bridge to the nose, that usually signifies they want to make a major impact in their work and wouldn't suit a job, say, where they'd be in a team with their efforts largely ignored. Someone with no bridge likes contact with others and wouldn't want limited communication with colleagues.'

Meanwhile, graphology - the study of handwriting and how a person's character is revealed through the way they write - has already gained status in the UK, with an estimated six per cent of employers consulting professional graphologists at the recruitment stage.

Like Mr Fulfer, Elaine Quigley, vice chairman of the British Institute of Graphologists, says the point is not to criticise but assess characteristics relevant to the job. "I would never say, 'you mustn't take this person on'; rather, I'd identify, say, someone prone to mood swings - which might prove good for a creative job."

Candidates shouldn't be scared off, she says, because it usually works in their favour. "People often show brilliant potential for a particular job but are too nervous in the interview to get that across."

The shape and size of letters in writing, as well as the slant and pressure applied to the pen, provide clues to thoughts, she believes, adding, though, that this cannot measure intelligence. Graphology should be used in addition to other recruitment methods.

Increasingly analysts need to keep one step ahead, for job seekers are becoming wise about how body language gives them away. Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, specialises in lie detection. "Experienced liars and fraudsters are extremely difficult to check. They become what we call high self-monitors, very aware of their image. They know looking away is a sign of a lie, so they overcompensate by maintaining more eye contact than normal. Ironically, that can give them away too - but you need top people in body language to spot it."

Mr Fulfer says that matching the candidate's personality with the culture of the organisation is recognised as increasingly important in staff retention. But the Industrial Society warns it can all backfire, prompting snap judgements that may be irrational and unfounded. "We have a healthy scepticism about this kind of thing," says manager Julie Amber, though she admits that these recruitment tools are now particularly popular in the rest of Europe.

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