As stated from our post discussing how to interpret nonverbal communication, anywhere from 55 percent to 93 percent of communication is actually non-verbal. So as you go into your next interview, consider not just your words you’ve so carefully rehearsed while researching “common interview questions,” but also how you say them and how you present yourself altogether.
- Practice poise. Poise means you come off as confident, well put-together (not just clothes but with your responses to questions), and in control of yourself. You appear comfortable — meaning you’ve got any nerves corralled and seem attentive. You’re ready to take on this position and anything else thrown at you. This doesn’t come naturally to everyone; you should practice until it comes naturally. Forced poise is a paradox — one cancels out the other.
- Demonstrate interest. This may seem overwhelmingly obvious, but candidates do go into interviews and appear as if they don’t want to be there or don’t want the job. If you look bored or look away, or the tone of your voice indicates you have little interest in the company and/or the interviewer, that will effectively get your name scratched off the list. Make eye contact (keep it natural — don’t stare anyone down or make them feel uncomfortable), lean forward slightly, attend to the questions and people asking them.
- Show some animation. No, don’t draw pictures: Be expressive. Appear positive and energetic (though not overly so — don’t scare anyone) as you answer questions. Smile every so often as appropriate and avoid frowning even when speaking of negative work situations. Keep your tone of voice upbeat when giving answers about your accomplishments and give the impression that you’re truly enthusiastic about the company and the position.
- Appearance counts. In most interviews, fair or unfair, you will be judged on how you present yourself. Dress professionally, even if the office tends to wear casual clothing. Don’t wear a three-piece suit if everyone else wears jeans in the office (and do call to find out the dress code), but wear something wrinkle-free and appropriate for the tone of the place…but a little nicer. No rips, no stains, no untucked shirts — you don’t want to remind anyone of a Tide commercial. You want to convey that you understand the culture (if it’s more casual) but still recognize you’re on an interview. Stand or sit up straight and give a firm handshake to cement a confident first impression.
- Self-evaluate. One strategy we find to be successful is to practice an interview with a friend, and record a video of this practice. After the practice concludes, watch the video without any sound. This will allow you to observe, evaluate and adapt your own body language to ensure you are giving off the right message with your nonverbal communication.
If you want to practice your nonverbal skills, reach out to PrideStaff to work with our experienced Thousand Oaks recruiters who will help you put the finishing touches on your interview preparation and give a great first impression.