Communication ~ Interviews ~ Non-verbal Impressions (part 4)

You wrote and tailored a fantastic resume where you communicated your skills so well that the employer called you in for an interview.  You know that your resume made a great first impression and showed that your work product is exceptional and your written communication skills are excellent. Now the interview day arrives and you are ready…

You walk in standing tall and showing confidence, you smile at each person as you say hello, you give a good firm handshake, and provide each person with a copy of your resume. You have created a strong first impression that speaks volumes about you and how you feel about yourself and your experience.

Before I move on…it is okay to be nervous…in fact even the most confident interviewee’s are nervous…you just can’t show it so while many of you are out there saying…”Loretta, you are crazy, out of your mind, you have lost it if you expect us to not be nervous as we walk in for an interview…we are going to be nervous and/or down right scared because these people will be deciding out work fate!” Yes, you are quite right, they will be deciding your work fate…but how good are you at what you do? How much do you know about your job? I am guessing that you have been confident in your job for quite some time and even very comfortable talking to others about it while you still were working, am I right? Well, go back to that place of confidence and surety in what you do and what you know and express that to the panel. It’s okay to be nervous…just don’t show it!

Now I have another batch of you out there that are saying “I am changing careers and I am new at what I am doing so I don’t have the experience to be confident when I walk in!” Again, you have been studying, talking to others about the excitement of the changes happening in your life…that is what you need to show to the panel or person that is interviewing you. Show that excitement that many people lack, show your confidence in what you have learned and how much you look forward into putting theory and classwork into practice. You can still be confident because you know the kind of person you are, you know that given the chance to prove yourself as an asset…you will go above and beyond the employers expectations.

Let’s get back to how you portray yourself in the interview…we have established that you have walked in and made sure that the person/panel has gotten the impression that you are a confident person. Now they invite you to sit down and get on with the questions. Yes, it matters the way you sit in your chair! Don’t slouch! You don’t have to sit at military attention, but do sit up straight and tall and maybe lean forward…just a little bit. Leaning forward conveys interest and you want to show you are interested in this process.

Again the eye contact will be important so make sure that you are making eye contact with each person in the room. One person may ask you a question but if there is more than one person there, they are also rating you so make sure you make eye contact with everyone. (Think of how a teacher or speaker looks around the room as he/she speaks so that everyone feels included and emulate them) When I do employment coaching I always look around the room and talk to everyone so it is the same principal

What are your nervous habits? Do you even know them? Do you play with your hair? Do you click or play with a pen? Do you tap your fingers or move your feet? We all have nervous habits that we use to relax and to reduce stress but we have to leave them behind when we walk in for the interview. I am sure I have stressed the importance of practice and more practice before an interview so let me add to that,  the practice should be in front of a mirror or another person so that you can either see your habits or have someone tell you what they are. When I got ready to start interviewing as a Career Coach I learned that I move my feet pretty much constantly when I am speaking to a group or answering questions or anything else that makes me nervous or excited. To combat this nervous habit, I practiced answering questions in front of a mirror and I would push and I mean PUSH my feet into the floor to keep them from moving around. It worked and when I began my series of interviews my feet stayed firmly on the floor without the pushing part. It had become natural, through practice, to keep my feet still.

You should have a form that you can use to rate yourself after an interview on how well you communicated your skills and strengths to the interviewer(s). Something like the chart below…

Example

Assessment

1.

Posture / Body position

1

2

3

4

5

2.

Eye contact with interviewer(s)

1

2

3

4

5

3.

Self – Confidence / Comfort level

1

2

3

4

5

4.

Mannerisms / Body Movements

1

2

3

4

5

5.

Voice (volume and pacing)

1

2

3

4

5

6.

Facial Expressions

1

2

3

4

5

There is so much more to communication than just talking and over time I will cover many aspects to make it easier for you to sell yourself. See you next time…

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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

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“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... 
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