What You Don’t Say Says A Lot

Nonverbal Communication in InterviewsMost often people forget about the importance of nonverbal communication in an interview. We take the time to practice and prepare our answers, yet we spend no time checking the effectiveness of our nonverbal communication.

It is a fact that your answers during an interview carry a lot of weight in the decision, but it is also a fact that nonverbal communication plays a significant role in the hiring process.

During an interview, it is vital that you remain aware of how your nonverbal communication speaks of you as an individual. You may have prepared the best answers in the world, but how you say it or what are you doing while saying it affects how the interviewer interprets your answer.

Tips to Improve Nonverbal Communication:

Before the Interview

Before coming to an interview, make sure that you wear the proper attire. It is important to dress properly during the interview—going to an interview underdressed just shows that you do not care about what people think of you. This is not how you want to be viewed as an applicant. You want to show the interviewer that you are serious about applying and made the effort to dress properly.

Dressing properly also means practicing proper hygiene. You need to make sure that you shave and trim your nails. If you’re going to wear perfume or cologne, don’t overdo it. It is also important to avoid coming to an interview smelling like cigarettes.

Resumes are also an area in which nonverbal communication is present. When you bring a resume that looks like it was printed from a printer that's running out of ink and printed on paper with creases, it makes you look unprofessional. Giving your best effort in every part of your interview is something you should do if you really want to get the job.

Waiting in the Lobby

As you enter the building, you should greet the receptionist. Be polite and pleasant to the employees, especially when they greet you. You never when they might have a say about whether or not you get hired.

The way you sit and wait for the interview also shows a lot to the interviewer. Keep in mind:

  • Do not slouch while sitting.
  • Do not check on the time too much, as if you would rather be elsewhere.
  • Do not listen to your iPod.

While waiting for the interviewer, you must remember that the first time he or she sees you will be your first impression. You want to make the best impression while waiting. You want the interviewer to see you as a professional and not as an impatient individual.

As you see the interviewer coming, stand up and walk confidently to greet the interviewer. Establish eye contact, smile, and offer him or her your hand for a firm handshake.

During the Interview

During your interview, there are a couple of things you need to look out for if you wish to avoid nonverbal mistakes.


Any applicant showing poise in an interview will outshine the competition easily. Giving your best answers with poise will erase doubts in the mind of an interviewer; giving good answers while fidgeting will only instill the interviewer with doubt concerning your ability to do the job.


No nonverbal communication is more important than interest. Showing interest in the job will convey authenticity. Answers with enthusiasm will send a message to an interviewer that you really want the job. If you want to show interest to an interviewer, be sure to avoid yawning, looking away, or appearing bored. Make proper eye contact, be attentive, and lean forward slightly in your seat to show interest.

Eye Contact

Another important nonverbal communication tool is eye contact. Imagine how an interviewer feels when someone answers without eye contact or looks away while the interviewer is speaking. This conveys unprofessionalism and a lack of interest in the job. Be sure to establish eye contact with the interviewer to show professionalism.


This is the most overlooked nonverbal communication tool. All too often when speaking in an interview, an applicant's hands and feet move too much (fidget) or too little (appear stiff). It is important to watch how your hands and feet move during an interview; make sure that if they do move, it doesn't send a bad message to the interviewer. Everything should be in moderation.

During an interview, it's important to remember that while verbal communication is important, nonverbal communication is equally important. Be aware of both, and do your best to maximize both types of communication to show your interviewer you are perfect for the job.