1. How can we define nonverbal communication?
  2. Is nonverbal communication important in a job interview?
  3. What are the types of nonverbal communication crucial for job seekers?
    1. Body language
    2. Proxemics
    3. Eye contact
    4. Things we carry to the interview
    5. Dress code
  4. How to use nonverbal communication in a job interview?
    1. Before the interview
    2. During the interview
    3. After the interview
  5. What are the best examples of nonverbal communication?
    1. Smile
    2. Hand movements
    3. Eye contact

We all know that actions speak louder than words, but most job seekers forget this when it comes to interview preparation.

As job seekers armor up with all the tips and tricks, the one key aspect many people overlook is nonverbal communication.

Giving the right answers and passing tests won’t matter if you fail at nonverbal communication skills in a job interview, making it crucial for job seekers to know all about it.

In this blog, we answer the 5 key questions:

  1. How can we define nonverbal communication?
  2. Is nonverbal communication important in a job interview?
  3. What are the types of nonverbal communication crucial for job seekers?
  4. How to use nonverbal communication in a job interview?
  5. What are the best examples of nonverbal communication?

Let’s get started!

How can we define nonverbal communication?

Communication is a lot more than just an exchange of words and everything that falls under the "lot more" is nonverbal communication.

Have you ever greeted someone with a smile? Or waved to say hello or bye?

All these are some common examples of nonverbal communication.

Nonverbal communication can be defined as talking with expressions, body language, gestures, and other speech aspects like accent, pitch, speed, and tone.

Unlike verbal communication, it does not involve using words and is more about reading between the lines to understand the speaker’s mood, message, and intention.

Is nonverbal communication important in a job interview?

Nonverbal communication is an essential aspect of the interview preparation, and in many cases, it becomes the deciding factor of whether or no you will ace the interview.

From the clarity in your voice, to how you dress, everything affects your chances of getting the job, making nonverbal communication skills a significant hiring factor.

It is your best shot at standing out from a pool of candidates as a good hold on your expressions, and behavior can increase your chances of getting hired.

What are the types of nonverbal communication crucial for job seekers?

Communicating without words can be complicated as you can mince words, but hiding emotions is not an option.

Here are the types of nonverbal communication skills crucial for job seekers.

1. Body language

Body language is a form of nonverbal communication that expresses your emotions, thoughts, and often your concerns in an interview.

From breathing to walking, everything is a part of our body language.

A strong body language increases your chances of standing out while a slouchy, loose body language may go against you, no matter how at par with skills you are.

Some of the most important things to take care of for a good body language are:

  1. Posture
  2. Hand movements
  3. Face movements
  4. Walk
  5. Handshake

2. Proxemics

Maintaining some space when talking to people is always advised, especially in formal situations like a job interview.

It may come as a surprise, but the distance you keep with people is crucial and must be taken care of during an interview.

Generally, while having a conversation, the right space to have is about 18 inches. But in an interview, it depends on the setting of the room.

Some tips to maintain a suitable space are:

  • Do not lean forward on the table when you speak
  • Keep your chair at the right distance from the desk- not too far or too close
  • Keep a 4-foot gap when walking behind someone
  • Keep your body straight when shaking hands- don’t lean forward

3. Eye contact

How your eyes behave in various situations can give away your reaction, thoughts, and even intentions.

Maintaining good eye contact is a key factor of nonverbal communication and indicates emotions like interest, excitement, honesty, and modesty.

Here are the 5 common eye behaviors and what they indicate to make your preparation easy:

  • Steady eye contact is a sign of honesty and reflects confidence
  • There is a fine line between maintaining eye contact and staring, which if not identified, can make all the difference
  • When people hear something that interests them, they blink a lot more, and their pupils dilate
  • Talking with eyes on the floor or without eye contact with the interviewer shows a lack of confidence
  • Shifty, unstable eye contact indicates lying

4. Things we carry to the interview

It is a less traditional sign of nonverbal communication, but the things that we always keep with ourselves can tell a lot about who we are.

We all have things that we like to take everywhere we go.

To make sure you do not miss on any aspect of interview preparation, make a list of the things you want to take to your interview.

Some things that are inappropriate for an interview are:

  • Bling jewelry
  • Chewing gum
  • Cigarettes, lighter
  • Squeaky heels/ shoes

On the contrary, you can make a great impression by carrying:

  • A folder with documents organized in an order
  • Pen
  • Notebook
  • Resume

5. Dress code

Never judge a book by its cover is true, but when it comes to interview preparation, the clothes you wear give away the first impression to the interviewers.

What you wear can influence a job interview and is considered a part of nonverbal communication, making it important for job seekers to dress to impress.

Something as basic as the color of your clothes can define your personality traits for an interviewer. Curious?

Here are the best colors to wear to a job interview and what they say about you:

  • Black: Leadership
  • Blue: Team player
  • Gray: Logical and analytical
  • White: Organised
  • Brown: Dependable
  • Red: Powerful

For other tips on how to dress for an interview, click here.

How to use nonverbal communication in a job interview?

Coming to the main question now, how can we use all these nonverbal communication skills to ace a job interview?

Let us discuss some preparation hacks for before, during, and after an interview.

Before the interview

Up your interview preparation by using nonverbal comunication in a job interview with these unique tips.

  • Practice voice modulation by recording and hearing yourself to identify and work on the areas of improvement
  • Talk into a mirror and note the nuances of your speaking style and expressions
  • Look out for facial expressions that could negatively impact your interview, and try smiling as you speak to look pleasant and approachable
  • Role-play an interview situation with a friend to get feedback
  • Dive deep into company research to learn more about it through websites like AmbitionBox.
  • On reaching the interview venue, be cordial to everyone you meet and greet them with a smile
  • As you wait in the lobby, stay patient, and avoid using your mobile
  • Hydrate well and visit the restroom before your interview begins
  • Maintain a good body posture, even in the waiting room

During the interview

To use nonverbal communication in a job interview, here's what you need to do:

  • Walk into the interview room with a firm body posture and a smile
  • Greet the interviewers formally with a firm handshake
  • Don’t slouch in your interview chair or sit in a rigid posture
  • Have a good eye contact, but make sure you blink, smile, and nod when needed
  • Avoid smiling or laughing during a serious conversation
  • Don’t look at the floor when you talk, lean back in your chair or fidget with your phone or documents folder
  • Avoid any quirks like shaking legs, tapping the desk with fingers, or fidgeting with your face and hair

After the interview

This is what you must do at the end of a job interview:

  • Wrap up the interviewer by paying regards politely with a handshake and smile
  • Make sure you pick your bag and other belongings in an organized manner without being clumsy
  • Walk out of the room with confidence, and don’t start checking your phone immediately

What are the best examples of nonverbal communication?

We communicate without speaking every second of the day with our behavior, attitude, and expressions.

There are several examples of this sort of communication, but here are the 3 most common examples of nonverbal communication to help you in your interview preparation:

1. Smile

A smile can go a long way, but how you smile can make all the difference in the world.

When we speak with a smile, it does not mean that you have to clench your jaws and force the words out of your mouth.

Smile naturally to look optimistic as you face your interview no matter how nerve-wracking it is.

A smile is the best example of nonverbal communication and indicates anticipation, eagerness, excitement, and positivity.

2. Hand movements

From shaking hands to using them while speaking, how you use your hands can give a good or bad impression of you to the interviewers.

The right way is to keep your hands folded on your lap and use them occasionally during the interview.

Clenching hands, sweaty palms, and extra movement of your hands can indicate nervousness, lack of confidence, and preparation.

On the contrary, using them right reflects self-control, poise, and confidence.

3. Eye contact

As interviewers try to understand you through body language, eyes can be a give-away factor.

This is why making eye contact is a fine example of nonverbal communication.

Everyone knows that it is important to maintain eye contact, but very few know how to do it right.

Looking at the interviewer while answering questions shows reaction, confidence, and preparation.

In case of a panel interview, you must divide the contact time between all the interviewers.

Also, understand the difference between eye contact and staring.

Make sure you don't end up staring at the interviewer as that can be creepy and indicates aggression, while looking away shows disinterest, and looking at your shoes means fear.

In the end, we hope you now know how to use nonverbal communication in a job interview, and are through with your interview preparation to ace the interview like a pro.

You can read more about body language here.

All the best!

Communication Interview Advice