Interview Tips – Why Nonverbal Communication Is Important
Your body language can make or break your next job interview. No matter how qualified you are for a job, how impressive your accomplishments, and how accurately you respond to the interviewer’s questions, the success of your next job interview will depend a great deal on your body language. According to studies, more than 90% of communication is nonverbal. You need to be aware of the nonverbal messages you’re projecting, so they confirm rather than contradict what you’re saying.
Give a Great First Impression
According to Dan Burns, the author of The First 60 Seconds: Win the Job Interview before It Begins, the hiring manager will begin sizing you up based on your appearance before you utter a word, so make sure you’re dressed appropriately and well-groomed. You will exude confidence by standing up straight, smiling, using eye contact, and offering a firm handshake. Build rapport by using the interviewer’s name during the introduction. The first few seconds will set the tone for the rest of the interview.
Watch Your Posture
Sit up straight with your legs together and your feet flat on the floor. Lean forward a bit to show that you’re focused and engrossed in the conversation. Hands can easily get out of control, so keep them on your lap or position one hand over the other on the table. You can gesture occasionally when making a point, but keep this to a minimum. Too many hand movements can make you appear nervous and unprofessional. Use correct posture and you’ll be perceived as self-assured and capable.
Use Eye Contact and Appropriate Facial Expressions
Using eye contact will communicate that you are honest and interested in what’s being said. To avoid staring, maintain eye contact for no more than ten seconds, break away, glance to one side or the other, and then resume eye contact. You should smile when you first meet, at times during the interview when appropriate, and when saying goodbye. Smiling will make you likable; however, overdoing it will make you appear insincere. The more positive and enthusiastic you are, the more it will show in your face. Nodding in agreement from time to time shows that you’re listening and on the same page as the hiring manager.
Monitor Your Voice
It’s not just what you say but how you say it that’s important during a job interview. Pronounce your words carefully, use adequate volume, and speak at a consistent rate of speed. Be succinct; people tend to ramble on when nervous. If you need to collect your thoughts before answering a question, pause briefly and then respond. Avoid using too many filler words, such as “um” and “ah” when speaking. According to Caroline Dowd-Higgins, the author of This Is Not the Career I Ordered, people who avoid using filler words come across as more intelligent and professional than those who do.
Giving a great first impression, watching your posture, using eye contact and appropriate facial expressions, and monitoring your voice won’t help you if you don’t have the skills and experience necessary to do the job. However, if you are competing with one or more equally qualified candidates, using appropriate body language during the job interview just might be the thing that sets you apart and lands you the job.
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