Nonverbal Interview Tips

If you haven’t seen this article and infographic from AOL Jobs, go read it now.

Most of the information is common knowledge and much given advice. However, the nonverbal cues portion is worth reviewing. A few that should be noted:

  • 21% played with their hair
  • 41% had no knowledge of the company
  • 67% didn’t make eye contact
  • 38% didn’t smile
  • 21% crossed their arms
  • 9% were too animated
  • 26% had a weak handshake
  • 33% fidgeted

Almost all of those are areas the interviewee could easily change with confidence in themselves, practice and a few smart choices.

If you have long hair put it up.  Short, clip it back. Make your hair difficult to play with. If you already are a habitual hair-toucher, do not wear lots of product (men, this goes for you too!). The last thing you want is a sticky hand when giving a handshake.

Do your research! A well-informed candidate who wasn’t perfect at the interview will outshine a great interview that knew nothing about the company every single time.

Practice making eye contact. Did you know there is a name for the study of eye contact? It’s called oculesics. According to this post on body language tips, two seconds is a reasonable amount of time and conveys comfort. Avoiding eye contact makes you seem distrustful at best, rude and uninterested at worse.

Smile, even when you’re nervous. The more you practice smiling, the less likely you are to frown or come across as grouchy.

Sit up straight. Just like with everything else on this list, it conveys confidence and alertness.

Find something else to do with your hands if you are a hand talker or have a habit of crossing your arms. Bring work examples, extra copies of your resume and more importantly a pad and notebook to take notes. You don’t actually have to take notes, but it is much more difficult to cross your arms or wave wildly when you are holding a pen. This should also help the fidgeting.

Handshakes are not difficult. Ask a trusted friend to judge yours. Practice. There is no excuse for a poor handshake (minus a broken hand of course).

What other nonverbal cues do you look for in a candidate?