The Importance of Non-Verbal Communication at Interviews


Experts claim our body language makes up around 60% of how we communicate. It is not surprising then that body language is a huge part of the impression you will make on an interviewer.

Most candidates will prepare and practice their answers to help with their verbal communication. Yet, few seem to prepare for their non-verbal communication.

In this article, I will explain some of the essentials of non-verbal communication at interview and how your body language can have an effect on you as well as the interviewer.

Non-Verbal Communication

Some essentials of non-verbal communication at interviews are:

  • A firm, but not bone-crushing, handshake.
  • Maintain good eye contact – if more than one interviewer, make eye contact with them all as you answer the questions not solely the one who asked the question.
  • Smile – always when you meet people, and at appropriate points during the interview.
  • Control your hands – it’s ok to use them to explain things but don’t let them become too distracting.
  • Resist fiddling with your hair, face, hands, etc – make a concerted effort to clasp your hands loosely on your lap if this is a tendency of yours.
  • Don’t slouch or lean backwards – if you sit upright and bend forwards a little you will come across as engaged, attentive and confident.
  • Find your own solid base position to settle in to – one where you anchor your feet still, you rest your hands on your lap or your arms on the armrests of the chair.
  • Accept a glass of water, if offered, and take a drink if you find yourself getting a dry mouth. You can also use it to buy yourself some time to think about your answer to a challenging question. Never accept an offer of hot drinks or snacks though – they can distract you and get in the way.

Your Body Language Affects You

As well as our body language influencing the interviewer, it also affects how we are in the interview and how we perform.

Our body language before and during the interview can dramatically influence our impact.

For more on this, I recommend the Ted Talk titled “Your body language may shape who you are”.

It’s only 21 minutes long and is worth the time invested.

It contains some interesting advice about how changing your physiology before an interview can affect how you come across. It can give you more confidence and help you make more of an impact.

It also has a much wider application in our lives than job interviews.

Don’t Ignore Your Body Language

If your body language makes up more of your communication than the words you say you really should pay attention to it.

Even a short amount of time considering it will raise your awareness of it and lead to improvements.

This is a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

I applied this myself in a fiercely competitive interview process when I secured my job offer from Sky Sports. Subsequently, I’ve seen many of my coaching clients reap the benefits too.

It’s really too important to ignore!

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Matt Oliver

Matt is the founder of Law Career Plus and a former in-house lawyer (Sky Sports, London & Foxtel, Sydney). With over 12 years of experience as a career consultant & executive coach, he supports lawyers with their career development & career transitions. He does this through this website, a regular email newsletter and his one to one lawyer career coaching.

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