Many studies by communication psychologists have determined that 93 percent of all communication is done through non-verbal means. This means that no matter how well prepared you are to answer interview questions, only 7 percent of what you say actually matters. Therefore, many hiring decisions in interviews are based off reading nonverbal cues in the first minute an interviewer meets the candidate. Then, the interviewer spends the rest of the interview looking for evidence to support their initial impression. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re giving off the right non-verbal skills to ace your next interview.
Reach for the handshake first.
A firm handshake is considered a sign of confidence. When you first walk into an interview, initiate a handshake first. This shows good manners and confidence. If you reach for a handshake with your palm facing up, it shows you are submissive and want the interviewer to be in control. A palm faced downwards shows dominance, and if the palm remains in the vertical position it shows equality and mutual respect. A skillful communicator knows which vibes each of these handshake positions gives off and when to use them appropriately. To err on the safe side in the interview setting, keep your palm in the vertical position so you don’t risk offending anyone.
Maintain eye contact.
Eye contact during the job interview is very important. Consistent eye contact shows the interviewer that you are interested in not only the questions they’re asking, but in the position and company. Avoid frequently looking down or away, as this shows lack of confidence or disinterest in the conversation. Because most of us rely on the visual sense, a healthy amount of eye contact shows confidence.
Be aware of proximity and posture.
Proximity and posture are both nonverbal cues. A candidate that leans back or stands too far away from an interviewer will be seen as nervous and shy. As a rule of thumb, standing a distance of three feet apart is standard manners in the United States. When sitting down, sit up straight or lean slightly forward. If you stand or lean in too close, it will make the interviewer feel uncomfortable and they’ll mark you down as having a disregard for personal space. Invading personal space is also often a sign of aggressive nature.
Cue in your speech patterns.
Tone pitch and speech rate carry hidden messages behind the answers you give in an interview. The manner in which a person speaks can often reveal more about them than the words they produce, so you want to make sure you’re speech patterns are giving the messages you want them to. Influxes in pitch, combined with hurried answers and mumbling, will reveal that you’re lying. However, monotone answers with little expression will give off the impression that you’re disinterested.
Avoid negative body language cues.
Avoid these most common signs of negative body language that candidates often exhibit out of nervousness:
-Clenched fists: Aggression
-Closed arms: Defensiveness
-Leaning away: Disinterest
-Fidgeting objects: Nervousness
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