Mastering Nonverbal Communication in Your Job Interview
Nonverbal communication expresses more than words can. People who listen to others with their arms folded directly in front of them, for example, are exhibiting negative emotions, either discomfort with being there or disagreement with what is being said. If you see someone frowning, you do not need to be told that they do not like or do not agree with something, right?
Nonverbal communication expresses a lot in a job interview.
If you want to get a job, you need to master nonverbal communication in your job interview. Negative nonverbal communication can make your interviewer think you do not want the job, or could not be a good team player. Positive nonverbal communication, on the other hand, can give you a winning edge for the job.
So how do you hone your nonverbal communication skills? Here are some tips.
1. Make eye contact
Making eye contact is friendly and gives off a sense that you are trustworthy and ready to engage. Conversely, not making eye contact can give the interviewer a sense that you are not really interested in the job — or worse, that you are withdrawn and even sneaky.
If you know you have a tendency to not make eye contact because of shyness, practice, practice, practice with friends. Making eye contact is very important.
A smile is a good way to express positive energy.
2. Sit with a natural, friendly posture
Sit with a friendly posture that opens the discussion up. Do not cross your arms in front of you, for example. Do not cross your legs. Both can be read as walling yourself off, especially the arms. Do not slouch, which can look disrespectful, especially if it is extreme.
In a friendly posture, you will look receptive. Sit as you would with friends. Lean slightly forward when the other person speaks.
If you feel friendly and relaxed, it is a good bet that your body language and nonverbal cues will just naturally express that.
Smiling is one of the best positive nonverbal cues. It, too, signifies receptivity to what is being said and to the situation itself. That is very important in a job interview because you are trying to signal that you want the job and feel positive about it and the company.
The other great thing about smiling is that you often feel better and friendlier when you do it. Use a smile to put yourself in the mood for a smile.
4. Be mindful of personal space
All cultures have their own definitions of optimal personal space. People who sit too close can seem like they are crowding the other person. An interview with people who are sitting too far apart for cultural norms will seem odd. If you are invited to take a seat across an interviewer’s desk, the personal space issue will take care of itself. If you are seated side by side, be sure not to crowd the interviewer. Doing so can seem like you do not have a good sense of personal boundaries, and can even result in your not being hired.
If you are asked to sit at a large conference table with several people, sitting across from them is a good bet, rather than sitting right next to them.
These nonverbal communication strategies will boost your success in job interviews.
For even more success in job interviews, and in job searching generally, read helpful articles from Open For Jobs.