A job interview can be really stressful. In order to alleviate the stress you practice giving answers to common interview questions. You think long and hard about what you’re going to wear and how you might do your hair. You plan how best to present yourself.
It’s important to remember that everything you do and say in an interview is used to make an opinion of you. It’s not just what you wear and what you say, it’s also what you do with your nonverbal communication. That means that you even have to know how to use your silence well and avoid bad nonverbal behavior. In order to truly use your silence well, you first have to know what bad nonverbal behaviors are, and then you can practice using your silence well.
Examples of Poor Nonverbal Use
Educating yourself on what to avoid in an interview will help relieve the stress. Here is a list of some common bad nonverbal behaviors that you would do better to avoid or learn to use properly:
- Facial Expressions
You need to use your facial expression to your advantage. A smile shows that you are enthusiastic about the job interview. This will lead a hiring manager to be more interested in hiring you because you seem more interested in the job. Avoid pursing your lips, frowning and closing your eyes because this makes you seem less interested.
A poorly executed handshake can really turn of a potential employer. You need to make sure that you practice giving a firm, yet gentle handshake. If you know you have problems with sweaty palms, you should also try to get your hands dry before giving a handshake. Avoiding this bad nonverbal behavior will help you come off as more confident.
Just like you want to make sure that your hand is dry before you give a handshake, you also want to try not to sweat. Many people sweat when they are nervous. If you know you are a nervous sweater, try using extra antiperspirant on the day of your big interview.
Another nonverbal behavior that you want to avoid is bad posture. If you sit slumped towards the back of the chair, you do not seem eager. You have to use your nonverbal behavior in the best way possible. This means making sure you sit up straight and at the edge of your seat. You also don’t want to close yourself off by crossing your arms or legs.
- Eye Contact
Eye contact is an important part of an interview. If you avoid eye contact, you seem evasive and less trustworthy. One tip is to look at the interviewer’s nose. This helps make eye contact a little less awkward.
- Hand Gestures
You do not want to be constantly moving your hands around. This is a bad use of your hand gestures. You also do not want to make too big of motions. Had gestures can be okay if they stay contained and close to your body.
- Bad Habits
During an interview avoid sniffing loudly and constantly, tapping your hands or feet, drumming your fingertips, shaking your leg, fidgeting in your seat, twirling in your swivel chair or playing with your hands. All of these are examples of bad nonverbal habits.
- Verbal Tics
Another nonverbal you want to avoid isn’t exactly nonverbal, but you don’t think about doing it. They’re called verbal tics—stuttering or saying things like er, um, uh, like or you know. You also want to avoid trailing off at the end of your sentences.
Once you know what the bad behaviors are, you can start practicing to avoid them.
Use Silence Well
It might take some preparation and practice, but you can start to use your silence in a good way. When you exude confidence because of the way you shake hands, sit and talk, you will be happy that you took the time to learn about bad nonverbal behavior that you should avoid in interviews.
Remember, the best way to start using your silence well is to practice. Have someone you trust do a mock interview with you, and if possible record it. This will give you a chance to hear feedback on what you do well and what you could work on. Extinguishing bad nonverbal behavior will not happen overnight. It will take practice. Now that you know what to avoid, you can start using your silence like a professional.