Non-verbal communication strategies can help improve your interaction with the interviewer. Interviewers typically trust the non-verbal messages they’re receiving as well as the verbal messages. If there’s a discrepancy in the verbal and non-verbal, it creates a feeling of uneasiness. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of your body language, posture, eye contact, facial expressions, nervous habits, voice pitch, tone and speed.
Body Language: Your body language speaks volumes about you. How you walk into the interview, how you shake hands, how you do or don’t make eye contact, how you sit, how you gesture, the manner in which you converse, the attitude you exude. It all creates an image of who you are. Candidates who are authentically engaged and present in the interview process involve their body and mind in the conversation.
Posture: An upright posture communicates openness and strength of character. You need to sit tall with your head up, shoulders square and feet flat on the floor. This not only conveys confidence that you can do the job, but also improves your own sense of self-confidence. You will also want to keep your hands visible as this conveys honesty and openness. Avoid folding or crossing your arms in front of you as this conveys defensiveness.
Eye Contact: Shifty eyes and an inability to maintain eye contact is seen as an indicator that you are lying or being deceptive. When interviewing, maintain eye contact with the interviewer as this communicates that you’re telling the truth and conveys a sense of openness. If you’re interviewing with non-American recruiters, be sure to research the meaning of eye contact for that that particular culture.
Facial expressions: There are 43 muscles in the face which will convey your inner thoughts and emotions and will be unconsciously read and interpreted by the interviewer. Be sure to smile occasionally as a smile conveys warmth and suggests that you would be someone amiable to have on the team. Some interviewers will try to test your stress level with weakness and negative-based questions and some will test your reasoning power with brainteaser questions and assessments. During this phase of the interview, refrain from frowns or angry, confusing, or astonished expressions. Stay calm and take your time in developing your response.
Voice: A large part of the impression you make in an interview is not what you say, but how you say it. Try to speak in your normal voice pitch and tone and modulate your vocal tone to punctuate key points. Often when candidates are experiencing the stress of an interview their pitch will raise, their tone will be tense, and their speed of their speech will be rapid. Try to match the speed of your communication with the speed of the interviewer to convey you are on the same wavelength. These non-verbal expressions communicate a lack of confidence and competence.
Nervous habits: Avoid nervous habits such as bouncing your leg, shuffling your feet, tapping on the table, twirling or rearranging you hair, clicking you pen, fiddling with objects in your lap, laughing at inappropriate times, or whatever you do when you’re nervous. Before your interview, be sure to practice thoughts of gratitude which will increase your positive vibrations and heighten your self-esteem. While driving to the interview, consider listening to some relaxing music or a motivational speaker. If you’re accustomed to meditating, consider spending a few minutes meditating to help calm the nerves.
While your main objective is to focus on and engage in the interview, it is important to be aware of any negative non-verbal communication signals you may be emitting.
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