Communication ~ Interviews ~ Non-verbal Impressions (part 5)

Last time we talked a bit about posture so first we will pick up and reiterate those points and then move forward. We have determined that as you walked in and shook hands you were standing tall and showing confidence; you sat down and sat at attention, not military attention, but a tall and straight posture again showing your confidence; but you are leaning forward just a little bit to convey interest in the process and the people with whom you are having a conversation. Interviewing is a conversation between you and the person(s) sitting across from you. Of course it just doesn’t feel like a natural conversation because of the nervousness of the situation, but make no mistake it is a conversation and you want to engage the other people by telling stories and asking questions.

There is no one way to sit during an interview and it is important that you are somewhat comfortable so you can feel at least a little relaxed but you also don’t want to be too comfortable so you start to look sloppy or arrogant. I know one person who likes to sit with his legs crossed with his ankle resting on his knee because he has very long legs and when there is a table in front of him the alternative is to have his legs stretched way out in front of the table. He sits down and pushes his chair back a bit and crosses his legs but he also sits tall and straight and leans forward to show interest. He could never be comfortable with his legs sticking out from under the table; it would undermine his confidence level.  As I said in earlier posts, I keep my feet on the floor in front of me so they don’t start doing their usual little dance and jiggle routine!  I have another friend who sits with hands on her lap and her feet crossed at the ankles. She likes her hands in her lap because if she does start to fidget it is less noticeable. You must be comfortable but not casual because you are not in a casual situation. I guess I need to take a moment to say “you aren’t in a casual situation…most of the time” but my clients that are truck drivers, service technicians, and construction workers say that their world is a bit different and it usually is more of a casual atmosphere. You have to be the judge of your own industry and if you aren’t sure…err on the side of caution.

Everything you do is some sort of a communication that you are conveying to the interviewer(s) so make sure you practice in front of a mirror, with another person, or use a video camera and find out what your non-verbal body language is saying.

Let’s talk about eye contact and how that impacts the impression you make. It stands to reason that if you are nervous you might want to look anywhere in the room except directly at the people asking you questions because you are fearful  they will see the fear and nervousness reflected in your eyes. The problem with that theory is that when you don’t look people in the eye it portrays fear, lack of  confidence, and even the impression of dishonesty to the person who’s eyes you are avoiding. A potential employer wants a confident and honest person in their employ so make sure you make good eye contact with each person as you are speaking. Remember that one person may have asked you the question but all panel members are rating you so you must try to give them equal time and respect.

Another factor of eye contact is the expressiveness that can show when a person is telling about an accomplishment that makes them really proud or when telling a story that describes a situation that shows the kind of person and/or employee he/she would be. People tend to get animated and expressive when telling stories that they are proud to tell and that animation can show through during an interview and the pride shows in the eyes and in the voice!

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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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