Communication ~ Interviews (Part 3) ~ Non-verbal impressions

We have been talking about communication for a few weeks now and still there is much to talk about in the realm of communication and the ways in which we communicate with one another. I have written about the spoken word and I still haven’t covered all that I need to cover; we have gone over the resume communication; we have touched on first impressions and the best way to err when working toward career endeavors…is to err on the conservative side.

We communicate in so many ways, we talk to each other, we text, email, instant message, there is sign language both for those that use it for hearing impairment and for those that are communicating in other languages and trying to get someone to understand what they need or want; we communicate in books, poems, laughter, tears, and so many other ways that I probably could write blogs about communication for months and still not cover everything. For our purposes we are focusing on interviewing and part of the interview is the non-verbal communication that is done, first when you walk in the room and make that first impression of how you are dressed and how well groomed you appear, through each and every gesture you make while the interview is in progress.

It is very important that you never assume that the people on your interview panel have seen any information about you because they may have only your name and nothing more. It is becoming increasingly popular and smart for employers to make sure that the interviewers have no preconceived ideas about you before you walk into the room. For instance, let’s just say that an interviewer was given my resume to look over before I walked into the room, along with 5 or 6 other resumes and in that batch of resumes I am the only alumni of Napa Valley College; that information alone may not be a big deal…but…what if the interviewer also went to Napa Valley College and we have something in common so I am already shining just a bit more than the other candidates? I am not saying that you shouldn’t tell the interview panel about your college education, I am saying that many employers don’t want their interviewers to prejudge BEFORE you come into the room.  Prejudgments can lead to discriminatory behaviorand many interviewers are not allowed to know anything about you until you walk into the room and then they must judge and rate you by ONLY what you say and do after you are introduced to them. Imagine that the interviewer was from a rival college and bore ill will toward me based on that information, that could cause a prejudgment in the opposite direction and keep me from getting a job rather than put me in the forefront.

Yes you want to give them as much information as you can while you are there…but now the Napa Valley College alumni on the panel doesn’t know that I too am from Napa Valley College so he/she doesn’t favor me before I am in the room and until I  make the connection by my own communication. He/she was never given any information about me so there could be no prejudgments either way.

Let’s talk about the type of non-verbal communication that is seen in an interview…one of the ways to communicate effectively and not say more than a few words is to simply hand your resume to each panel member because you are going by the assumption that they have NOT seen your resume…and you want them to see it. As you are introduced, you simply give each person a new copy of your resume so that it can be discussed during the interview…But I am getting a bit ahead of myself…

The first non-verbal communications with the panel are going to be your confidence level, a bit of your personality, eye contact, and your handshake. You must make sure that as you are introduced to each person, you smile, you give a firm, full extended hand as you handshake while looking the person in the eye and expressing your pleasure to meet with him/her.

The way in which you walk into the room will tell the panel volumes about you and how you perceive yourself. If you walk in with your shoulders straight, you are standing tall, you look each person in the eye, give a firm handshake, smile to show that you are a person that enjoys the company of others and are comforatable with others, and say hello in a clear strong voice…you have portrayed yourself as a confident, self assured individual. By contrast…if you walk in with your shoulders slightly (even just a tiny bit) hunched over and you are looking everywhere else but at the person you are meeting, then you shake hands and only give them your fingertips, or give a limp noodle shake ,you have just portrayed yourself as timid, nervous, scared, and definitely not confident in your abilities to do the job.

Remember these tips

  • Stand straight and tall
  • Smile to show that you are a personable person
  • Make eye contact with each person as they speak to you and you speak to them
  • Give a firm, full-grip handshake
  • Give each person a copy of your resume

The above tips are only the beginning of the non-verbal communication you will be doing while you are in an interview. Next time we will talk about maintaining the confidence level by how you sit, how you move (or don’t move) in your seat, and the continuation of eye contact, and more tips on non-verbal impressions.

See you then….

7 Responses to Communication ~ Interviews (Part 3) ~ Non-verbal impressions

Leave a Reply

Click here for free resume samples. Remember to put the word "samples" in the information box Contact us

Non-verbal communication is still communication
You have made it to the interview and now you need to make a great impression. What are your nervous habits? Do you really sit as straight as you think you do? Are you making eye contact? Watching the clock? Read more to ensure you are communicating what you want... Career Blog

Colleague Statement
“Loretta is a highly experienced and productive professional in the field of Workforce Development, Job Readiness, Career Counseling, Workshop Facilitation, and Job Search Preparation. I have worked with her closely for over six years, and she has consistently been a valuable, key resource in the employment community. For three of those years, she was at Napa Valley College as a resource specialist in their career center... 
Read More