There is nothing quite as exhilarating as getting the call for an interview of your dream job having submitted your CV and having waited patiently to be contacted. The job interview is the most important step in getting the job that you want and the best way to ace a job interview is by making the right impression. During an interview, an interviewer makes judgments about a candidate based on numerous variables. Beginning from the handshake, a candidate’s posture and gesture, level of intelligence, verbal skills, motivations and ambitions, energy and perseverance initiative and independence, maturity, capability and social abilities are all weighed during the course of the interview. While most of us prepare for an interview by going over our CVs, the job description along with duties and responsibilities and how we can convince the interviewer we can effectively and efficiently fulfill them and acquiring background information on our employers, we forget that all of this sums up to about thirty percent of what we will communicate to the interviewer. Various researches have shown that body language amount to 50-70% of communication. So it is essential that we pay attention to what we are communicating through body language.
Body language can reinforce, contradict, substitute, complement and accent what we are verbally communicating. Our presentable clothes, facial expressions, voice, eye contact and gesture and posture are components of non verbal communication. Making a great impression on an interview begins with presentable clothes. Despite Soyinka’s assertion that “The clothes don’t make a man”, in an interview, the opposite holds true. That is not to say that labels and extravagance are a winning point but a neat and appropriate outfit reflects readiness, dependability and competence. The next non verbal communicator in acting an interview is the handshake. It is not without reason that the hand shake has been of paramount importance when it comes to making good first impressions. A strong confident hand shake makes an impression of capability and competence whereas a weak flimsy hand shake does not. Facial expressions also communicate the validity and honesty in our statements and can either radiate capability or reflect self-doubt. Our voice also plays a dual role in communication. Aside from the words we speak, our intonation, pitch and manner of speaking have the power of making an impression. A steady, controlled voice along with an affirming facial expression can sub consciously influence an interviewer. Gestures and posture are also an important aspect of non verbal communications. A gesture can be threatening, reassuring, accentuating or contradicting depending on the verbal communication along with the gesture, the context and the culture. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to our gestures and avoid gestures having different meanings in an interviewer from a different culture or place. Our posture is also plays a role in non verbal communication as an indicator of capability and readiness or disinterest and boredom. The last but certainly not the least is eye contact. Steady eye contact that doesn’t cross the line to starring your interviewer down shows honest and confidence in your words.
Ergo, knowing the important role of non verbal communication in interviews, being aware of and in control of body language and non verbal communication to an extent possible by the conscious mind is a sure way to stand out and make an impression that will land a dream job. Good Luck!