Job interviews are the employers chance to meet candidates face-to-face. Not only will the employer have a list of specific questions to ask you about your resume and your ability to do the job, they also want to see what you’re like. Both verbal and nonverbal communication skills are the key to success.
Employers will listen to your answers but they will also be reading your body language. Actions speak louder than words and often our gestures, movements, and facial expressions, say more about how we’re feeling than what we say.
The ability to use nonverbal communication skills is a powerful tool that can help you give a positive impression during a job interview. They are nerve-wracking, but it’s important not to let the occasion get the better of you.
Focusing on your body language can help to give the impression that you’re calm and relaxed, even if you’re not. It can make the difference between getting the job and not. You’ve taken the time to write a resume, now it’s your chance to shine in the interview.
There are ways of including communication skills on a resume. However, trying to demonstrate that you have strong nonverbal communication in the skills section of your resume is not so simple. The interview is your opportunity to showcase these abilities.
What is nonverbal communication?
What is the meaning of non-verbal communication? When we communicate we continuously give and receive wordless signals. The facial expressions we make, eye contact, how we sit, and how loudly and quickly we speak, all send strong messages.
Nonverbal communication tells the other person what you’re feeling, even if it’s subconscious. Even during periods of silence, you still interact through your body language.
Often in job interviews, what people say and what their body language communicates are two different things. This sends mixed messages to the interviewer and can create tension, mistrust, and confusion.
What are examples of nonverbal communication? There are various types of nonverbal communication but they are often broken down into groups including kinesics (body language), haptics (touch), paralinguistics (the way you speak), and proxemics (use of space).
Most other skills are easy to include on your resume using a resume builder but nonverbal communication skills are unique. They are only demonstrated and observed in the job interview not on your resume.
Nonverbal communication tips for job interviews
It is important to be aware of your own body language and to take some steps before and during an interview. Thankfully, it is possible to control your own body and to make sure you give the right impression in a job interview.
Prepare before the interview
Waiting for the Interview
This can be the most nerve-wracking part but it’s also your chance to get your body language under control from the start. Be aware that the receptionist and other people may be observing you.
Focus on your posture when you’re sitting and standing. Keep your back and neck straight and stand or sit still as much as you can. Keep your belongings to your left so it’s easy to shake people’s hands when the time comes.
A handshake is an important part of a first impression and it will probably be the only physical contact between you and the employer.
Aim for a firm handshake which isn’t painful for the other person. It isn’t a contest. Make eye contact and smile as you shake the interviewer’s hand.
Keep your back straight and lean forwards towards the interviewer slightly to show interest. Avoid crossing your arms or placing them on your lap as this indicates defensiveness whereas you want to display confidence.
When you’re nervous it can feel impulsive to want to do something with your hands. If you have the urge to touch your hair, bite your nails, resist it. The same goes for leg-shaking. These movements give the impression that you’re nervous. You want to appear calm.
You don’t have to sit perfectly still. If you naturally talk with your hands this is not a problem. It’s nervous habits you need to avoid.
There’s a balance to be struck between not making eye contact and seeming detached and distant, and staring intensely at the interviewer and coming across as aggressive.
Make eye contact when you’re listening to questions to show you’re paying attention and respond, but allow it to regularly break to let your eyes wander.
Leave a positive impression
The last impression you give is as important as the first. Calmly stand up, gather your things, smile, and shake the hands of the interviewer. Give the impression you’re pleased with how the interview went.
Preparation is the key to a successful job interview. Follow these top tips for a job interview to give yourself an edge over the other candidates.