Non-verbal communication is very important, especially for job assessments and interviews. By non-verbal communication we mean the subtle exchange of information between two or more people without the involvement of any words or speech. This includes body language and facial expressions. For example, by looking at the way someone stands, their appearance and facial expression, we can often learn quite a bit about a person. During a job application or assessment it is important that you are aware of the non-verbal communication that you put out there and how this can come across to someone else. How do I do that? Please read below.
When a recruiter sees you slump during the interview (specifically in the beginning), your chances have already considerably reduced. An open and active attitude works to your advantage. Sit up straight, keep your shoulders in line with your ears and slightly push your chest forward. This attitude gives an active impression and exudes confidence, even if you may not have it at that moment. In fact, maintaining this has an active effect on your verbal communication as well. To maintain an open position, do not cross your arms, make sure that you are turned towards the assessor and try not to cross your legs.
Always extend your arm to shake hands and make sure you provide a good amount of counter-pressure to the pressure exerted by the other party. Shake once or twice, smile and keep eye contact. Pro tip: If you are worried that you have sweaty hands, go to the toilet and keep your wrists under the tap for a minute. Works every time!
When you talk you will probably make some gestures to support your words, its quite natural. This is not bad at all and is encouraged. However, try to minimize further unnecessary gestures. An excess of gestures distracts. Suppress the tendency to, for example, point fingers while making a point or fiddle with your hair. These are gestures that are likely to calm you down, but that can be very irritating to your conversation partner.
Eye contact is a difficult aspect. Little or no eye contact can indicate disinterest, but making too much eye contact is very uncomfortable for both parties. Try to really look at your conversation partner for a few seconds before you look away again. A fleeting glance can radiate fear, avoidance or uncertainty.
Our emotions have accompanying facial expressions that we are often unaware of. The most important aspect of your facial expression is whether it fits your message or not. You can possibly practice your facial expressions in front of the mirror to make yourself more aware of it. A good facial expression while listening to your conversation partner is often a light smile, accompanied by occasional nods and good eye contact.
Your conversation partner not only gets to know what you say, but also how you say it. The aspects of your voice that influence this are the speed, tone, volume, pause, height and articulation. Similar to the facial expressions, it is also important here that you speak in a way that fits your message, because it also transfers posture, emotion and effect.
The other side of the conversation
Just like verbal communication, non-verbal communication is an interaction. Therefore, during the conversation, also try to pay attention to signals that your conversation partner sends out.
Do you feel like you’re not able to reach the interview stage of the selection process often enough? Click below to practice some assessment tests to improve your chances for next time.