The way you answer a question at a job interview has a significant impact on your chances of landing a job. However, many people often overlook the impression you can make with nonverbal communication. Some studies report that nonverbal communication, which can range from tone of voice to posture and gestures, makes up more than three quarters of an interview response’s strength. Evaluation of your nonverbal communication starts early, sometimes even before the interview, and lasts until you leave your potential employer.
Before your interview even starts, think about projecting an image of confidence and focus. You should always dress well for your interview, and avoid signs of habits that may be viewed negatively, like smoking and chewing gum. While waiting in the lobby to be called in for your interview, try not to exhibit signs of distraction or nervousness, like talking on a cell phone or listening to music. Take special care of your scent; avoid too much perfume or aftershave and make sure you have no noticeable body odor.
Once you enter the interview, it is important to keep projecting an image of confidence. Shake your interviewer’s hand firmly, but without squeezing too hard. Sit up straight, and avoid body language that may be read negatively, such as leaning back or fidgeting. Make eye contact as often as possible without staring, and make sure to smile at the beginning and end of your interview. Smiling naturally conveys enthusiasm and friendliness.
Having some nerves during and before an interview is normal, but if you and another candidate are equally qualified, the final hiring decision may hinge on which of you presented yourself the most strongly during the interview. Practicing interviewing in front of a mirror or friend or seeking the help of a career coach can help you polish your body language so that it says exactly what you want at the moments it matters most.