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Master your non verbal communication for interview success

Preparation is the key to a successful interview but along with researching the company and position, rehearsing your answers and making sure you are looking your best what else should you think about when going for an interview?
Written on 8/21/09

Well one of the very important, often overlooked, aspects of your interview technique is your non verbal behaviour and ensuring that your body language reflects you in the best light possible. With academics increasingly discussing how this non-verbal behaviour plays a vital role in the way that we communicate, learning to master yours will pay dividends.

It’s safe to assume that we all know the basics, or is it? Lets quickly refresh them; it’s surprisingly easy when in a formal interview setting to make the simplest of mistakes.

The basics

Dress appropriately – even if you know the company has a more relaxed attitude to dress it’s usually best to err on the side of caution at interview and dress conservatively. Take care with your grooming, ensure that hair is tidy and is off your face and that perfume or aftershave isn’t overpowering.

First impressions do count so along with the way you look be sure to offer a firm, but not bone breaking, handshake. Make and maintain eye contact, a good tip is to look at the person’s nose rather then their eyes. If you are in a panel interview always look at the questioner when answering – although a glance at the other members of the panel is also advised. Remember to smile; a warm smile (where appropriate) will indicate that you are engaged and enthusiastic. Don’t slouch in your seat and be aware to control any ticks you may have -  leg shaking, tapping or drumming your fingers. If you tend to use your hands when talking ensure the movements are contained.

Advice applies for more senior candidates too

These pointers may appear obvious to more senior candidates, but it is surprising how quickly some candidates, who are in highly successful, senior positions, can unravel when they are put into the applicant role. One of the most important things for any candidate, whatever their level, to do is to bring with them the confidence that they hold in their current role. Confidence – not to be mistaken for arrogance –fundamentally changes the way that candidates present themselves. Their body language will follows suit enabling these candidates to be more relaxed and appear more authentic. With a growing number of HR teams utilising psychometric testing, developing longer interview processes and more sophisticated selection techniques candidates who in interview can reflect their true selves are more likely to succeed.

Mastering your technique will lead to interview success

Ben Duffill, Director at The Management Recruitment Group , comments, “Candidates who are adept at these non-verbal aspects of their interview technique and who have high levels of self-awareness perform better. They often also have the agility to quickly adapt their behaviour depending on how the interview is progressing. This self-awareness and emotional intelligence often leads to success so it’s well worth developing these aspects of your technique.”

In a world where video dominates, one of the easiest ways to master your non-verbal communication is to video yourself at a mock interview. Any issues or behavioural ticks will seem glaringly obvious when you watch it back, giving you the opportunity to correct the behaviour prior to the meeting.

Finally, remember to try to relax – you’ve got past the first part (or possibly more) of the selection process. They like your application enough to interview you and they want you to do well so take a deep breath and give it your best.

Established in 2007 the Management Recruitment Group is unlike many other recruiters you will come across; we are a specialist mid to senior level management recruiter - a hybrid between an executive search business and a recruitment consultancy. Our consultants, currently over 35 strong, work in specialist teams across three locations covering a broad range of sectors from Construction to Property, Estates and Facilities Management,  Real Estate and Development.