Interview Tips: Keep Nonverbal Communication Cues in Check

Nonverbal communication is a commonly overlooked aspect of interviewing. Are you guilty of any of these common mistakes?

A recent Monster poll asked job seekers, "What is the hardest part about changing jobs?" Most respondents said interviewing, followed by updating their cover letters and resumes.

Interviewing can be stressful, regardless of how much you've prepared. You want to do everything you can to increase your chances of landing the job. This means preparing answers to common interview questions, polishing your online portfolio, carefully considering your attire and thoroughly researching the company. However, one aspect of interview prep is commonly overlooked: keeping your nonverbal communication in check.

Nonverbal cues, such as a weak handshake or lack of eye contact, can undermine your verbal communication and overall performance. So what are the biggest nonverbal faux pas? Here are The Creative Group's top five:   

  1. Handshake. A weak or limp handshake can signal insecurity and disinterest. One that is too strong can seem arrogant. Your handshake should be firm (but not too firm) and last no longer than a few seconds.
  2. Eye contact. Too much or too little eye contact can be off-putting. Too much can be intimidating and too little can signal that you're meek or uninterested in the position. Keep eye contact casual and relaxed, just as you would if you were having a conversation with a friend or family member. And remember to blink!
  3. Posture. This one is tricky as you don't want to seem too stuffy or relaxed. For example, leaning back and crossing your arms can come across as being disinterested or overconfident. Sit up straight and lean forward slightly to appear engaged in the conversation.
  4. Fidgeting. Playing with your hair, rocking in your chair, touching your face or tapping your feet can be very distracting. Try to maintain a poised but casual demeanor during the meeting so the interviewer can easily focus on what you're saying, not what you're doing.
  5. Scent. OK, so this one doesn't technically fall into the nonverbal communication category but it's close enough – and it's important. Too much cologne or perfume can be nauseating. Limit how much you wear and, when in doubt, skip it altogether. If you smoke, try to avoid doing so right before your interview.

It's not likely that a hiring manger will base his or her decision solely on your nonverbal communication cues, but they will factor it in to the final decision. And when the competition for jobs is tight, you want to do everything you can to tip the scales in your favor. Ultimately, you want to be remembered for your skills and experience, not as the candidate who wouldn't stop clicking his pen!

Related post: 5 Interview Tips to Help You Nail Your Creative Job