Nonverbal communication is a way to send messages through body language. When people are communicating, they give off information using postures, gestures, voice and facial expressions. These signals are subconsciously made and are largely the basis for first impressions.
Studies show that nonverbal communication accounts for more than two-thirds of the impression that a recruiter creates of you. That’s why being aware of the nonverbal signals will help you when it comes to job interviews. According to Prince Perelson & Associates, it’s important for recruiters or interviewers to understand the personality and career goals of an applicant to make sure he or she will fit in their company culture.
Posture: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
It seems that every mother’s scolding was right; not sitting up straight or slouching paints a negative image. How you carry yourself says a lot about you. And in an interview, that’s where it all starts. As you approach the interviewer and shake his hands, you’ve already sent signals for your first impression.
A proper posture conveys self confidence and pride. It presents a positive image and makes communicating more effective. Standing or sitting erect shows energy and enthusiasm. Avoid slouching postures which make you look tired and uncaring. An open relaxed posture creates a good impact and boosts your confidence while speaking. This can project your positive feeling for the job, while a closed one sends out a timid and nervous vibe.
Personal Space: Learn It, Respect It
The space your body takes up during an interview speaks volumes. Recognize the boundaries of the other person’s personal space. Some cultures have different interpretations of “how close is too close”. In the U.S., for instance, a distance of at least 19 inches is appropriate in handshakes. During interviews, don’t lean too close and create a decent space between you and the interviewer, about two to three feet, so as not to invade the interviewer’s space.
Eye Contact: Maintain It but Don’t Stare
This shows you are actively listening and engaged with the conversation. Body language experts say that you need to hold eye contact for about 10 seconds before looking away briefly, and then re-establishing it again. Staring when you are speaking can be interpreted as a challenge to the interviewer.
Avoid constantly looking downward as it makes you appear insincere and submissive. Raising your head and making eye contact show that you are actively involved with the interview.
These unspoken secrets are essential factors to land you your next job. You need to remember that nonverbal communication is 90% of the message you are sending, and only 7% covers verbal communication.