10 Best Non Verbal Communication Tips for Successful Interviews
Did you know that it takes less than 30 seconds to make a first impression during an interview? Even more critical to note is that 55 percent of that first impression is made by what the interviewer sees, 38 percent by your vocals and only seven percent by the words you actually use. As such, even before you utter a single word during an interview, you’re already being assessed. The interviewer is reading your: confidence levels; enthusiasm; professionalism; job and organizational fit through your body language and mannerisms.
It takes less than 30 seconds to make a first impression during an interview
Non-verbal communication is the transfer of messages between two people without the use of words, whether oral or written. It is highly visual and includes body language; facial expressions; tone of voice; eye contact; use of space; gestures and other physical movements. Non-verbal cues convey information by themselves, and can also help supplement verbal communication.
Even when used subconsciously, non-verbal communication showcases a person’s deep seated feelings, attitudes, and intentions.
When used appropriately, an interviewee can build rapport and convey an impression of trustworthiness and confidence. Effective non-verbal communication plays a big role in creating a positive impression and setting yourself up for success.
10 Non-verbal Communication Tips for Successful Interviews
These 10 best non-verbal communication tips are useful for acing any interview. They not only help you in creating a good first impression, but also in decoding the interviewer’s attitude towards your responses. You can then craft better responses with each passing question and maximize your chances of landing that dream role.
1. Have an appealing self-appearance
Your personal grooming and dressing communicate meaning. Choosing the right clothes can significantly improve your appearance. It is thus important to have on the appropriate dress code in order to show that you mean business. Do research beforehand to establish the dress code of the company you’re interviewing at. If even after that you’re still not clear on what to wear, it is better to show up in conservative, traditional official wear. You cannot get penalized for wearing a suit in the traditional blue, black and grey, even if the company’s mode of dressing is modern and colourful. Also, always wear clothes that fit right and that are; clean, neat and comfortable. Lastly, have on; minimal make up, simple jewellery and a conservative hairdo, to keep distractions at a minimum.
2. Make eye contact
You’ve heard it said that eyes are the window to the soul. Ensure to make eye contact throughout the interview. Look them in the eye while you speak, and while they speak. If there’s more than one interviewer, make eye contact with all of them. This shows that you’re confident, interested in the conversation and are actively engaged. You are also able to read the effectiveness of your responses, how well you’re doing and to adjust your answers accordingly. This increases your chances of getting the job. However, avoid prolonged eye contact. It makes the interviewer feel like they’re being stared at. Nobody likes that feeling.
3. Display positive facial expressions
Your facial expressions should match the flow of the conversation. Facial expressions among other things; reveal how you are feeling and the level of engagement. A key ice-breaker during interviews is smiling. A genuine smile introduces you to the interviewer as being friendly, approachable and easy to work with. However, as with all other facial expressions, don't overdo it. You don't want to come off as being deceptive or insincere. Also, avoid frowning, yawning, scowling or looking sad.
4. Use open body language
Open your body as much as possible. Do not slouch. Rather, obtain a posture that makes you sit straight and is ideal for maintaining eye contact. When you lean back and cross your arms and/or legs, it communicates defensiveness, disinterest or even arrogance.
Sitting up straight and leaning slightly forward on the other hand shows that you’re fully engaged in the conversation.
It can also convey a sense of honesty and help build trust with the interviewer. Additionally, tightly clenching your fists shows nervousness and a lack of confidence, while open, upward facing palms show that you know your stuff.
5. Use Positive Hand Gestures
In physical interviews, a firm handshake expresses warmth and confidence. More to that, hand gestures are useful in emphasizing a point and making the conversation active. They help showcase your enthusiasm. They also communicate deep seated habits. For example, keeping your palms open and upward looking helps to underscore honesty. It's important to always keep the gestures within your personal space as overdoing them can be distracting.
Additionally, never use sexually suggestive gestures. These could be offensive to the interviewer and lower your chances of getting the job.
6. Listen Intently
Avoid interrupting the interviewer. This shows that you’re engaged and interested in the conversation. Leaning in with your head or entire body also shows that you’re following keenly. Nodding occasionally to show agreement, maintaining eye contact and mirroring the interviewer are also proof of listening intently. These help create a good rapport with the interviewer. They take the process beyond a mechanical Q&A session to a more productive level where both parties understand the questions and answers more deeply.
7. Mirror the Interviewer
Mirroring involves mimicking the body language and facial expressions of the interviewer. When they nod, you nod; when they move slightly to the side, you do the same and when they smile, you smile. However, it should be done subtly, to echo the interviewer’s actions, not to blatantly copy-cat them. Mirroring can help to build rapport and create a feeling of connection. It subtly communicates that you’re on the same page. Building rapport is an important part of job interviews because more to the competence, companies also assess organizational fit. This goes beyond skills and qualifications, to who you are as a person, and how well you’d take to the company culture. As such, it’s important to plan on how to create a positive relationship with the interviewer, so they are drawn to understanding your personality and organizational fit. Mirroring can help you do that.
8. Be still
Avoid fidgeting. It is distracting and can cause the interviewer to feel uncomfortable. A lot of movement signals impatience and disengagement with the process. Fidgeting may include tapping your fingers, twirling your hair, touching your face, shaking your jewellery, moving from one spot to another and tapping your feet. These all paint you in bad light. For instance, touching the face makes you come across as being dishonest, unsure or untrustworthy. Similarly, rubbing your head or neck makes the interviewer think that you’re bored or disinterested.
9. Use the right tone of voice
Tone of voice is not about what you say, but how you say it. It is less to do with the words, and more about their rhythm and pace. A positive tone is key, as it shows confidence. In your tone, aim to: be assertive, not aggressive; sound confident, not self-absorbed; be concise, not rambling and to sound prepared, not scripted. Avoid talking too much and too quickly so you can easily control your voice and breath normally between answers so as to remain composed.
10. Be on time for the interview
Interviewers are put off by lateness. It communicates unprofessionalism and a lack of respect for the process. It paints you in bad light and minimizes your chances of landing a role, even if you’re the right candidate for that job. A key benefit of arriving earlier than the stipulated time, is being able to relax and gain composure before the interview. As a result, your thoughts are better organized and flow more clearly as compared to when you arrive late, and have no time to calm your nerves. Prepare the night before on what you'll wear and all the documents you'll need to carry, then sleep early enough so you don't wake up late and don't waste time on the morning of the interview.
Effective non-verbal communication is a big contributor to a successful interview. By dressing and grooming appropriately; maintaining eye contact; displaying positive facial expressions; using open body language; using positive hand gestures; listening intently; mirroring the interviewer; avoiding fidgeting; using the right tone of voice and being on time for the interview, you make a great impression on the interviewer and increase your chances of success.
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