Individuals communicate not through words alone, but through non-verbal communications, cues and messages transmitted, usually through body language and facial expressions. A great deal of meaning is conveyed by non-verbal means of communication, and when integrated with effective verbal language, can better convey or stress the intended message.
Non-verbal communications, though, tends to be overlooked by many people, especially during crucial moments, like a job interview. It must be remembered that the various types of non-verbal communications have a significant impact on the communication process and play a critical part in successful business communications, as they complement oral discourse in today’s dynamic workplaces and other milieus.
Non-Verbal Communications to Clinch a Job Interview
Conveying a positive message with the right non-verbal cues can spell a great difference in jumpstarting a person’s career, ensuring a smooth and successful career path, and in effectively dealing with others, in general.
Five of the most common ways whereby non-verbal messages can be utilized in favor of a person being interviewed for a supervisory position in a business organization are: physical appearance, both of the written message and the individual; body language; space or territoriality; and time. The physical appearance of written messages, like a job applicant’s cover letter and resume, must follow the formal principles of style, correct grammar and spelling, in professional format and clean printout. A person’s physical characteristics, likewise, must impart an overall professional look.
When applying for a job interview, the person must be punctual and be well-groomed, clean, attractive and well-dressed, but not overdone nor dressed inappropriately. Clothes that fit well, are clean and neatly pressed contribute to a smart aura and show that a person cares enough to look professional on the job. Clothes can communicate economic status, current occupation, and values, so care in choosing the right key pieces to wear can elicit favorable feedback from others. Postural non-verbal communication will also heighten a good impression, especially during job interviews.
A person’s body orientation, arm and leg positions, and general sitting posture can send signals of being at ease, confident, or ready for challenges. Job applicants will do well not to fidget and not to avoid eye contact, lest they be seen as nervous or insecure, and to refrain from making defensive postures as crossed arms and legs that may convey a closed attitude. Occasional nodding, keeping the head up, and using the hands confidently to stress a point may be fine.
Cheerful, not exaggerated facial expressions and gestures, like a firm handshake, plus an overall good attitude, may be used to display sincerity, confidence and respect for a position (“Nonverbal Communication,” 1998). In terms of communicating messages through space, individuals must keep a slight distance from job interviewers — and later on from higher-ups — to signify respect for, rather than an invasion of, their personal space. Not standing too close when speaking to superiors also signifies respect for their status in the organization.
Last but not the least, a job applicant up for a supervisory position must make optimum use of the time spent with the interviewer, which in some way reflects the applicant’s time management skill. It may also be regarded as a sign that he may not tend to cram work, nor be too exhausted to assume work priorities. After all, only when a person has time for himself and others can he truly be at his best or most productive.
College of DuPage (1998, May 27). Types of Nonverbal Communication. In Communication (¶ 11). Retrieved March 7, 2008 from http://www.cod.edu/Course/MGT100?mgtcomm.htm