I recently had an interview for a position as an Architectural Technician for which I am absolutely qualified! I prepared and practised diligently. After the interview I felt hopeful that I would receive a job offer soon. Unfortunately, I did not get it! I was shocked. When I asked for feedback, the HR manager was vague at first, but I practically begged her to be honest. She said that I did not seem like I was not interested in the job and I kept looking around the room and rarely looked at her. As painful as this sounded to me, I was grateful for her honesty.
How can I make a better impression in the interview for next time?
Signed: Honesty is Painful Sometimes (HPS)
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Based on the feedback from the recruiter, you need understand the power of the non-verbal communication skills in the interview.
Oscar Adler, in his fantastic book Sell yourself in any interview, stresses that the nonverbal communication and cues often speak louder than words! Ideas and information can be communicated through gestures, facial expressions, attention, level, and tons of other nonverbal cues. According to the research of the famous psychologist Albert Mehrabian, less than 10 percent of communication of messages pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in the words that are spoken; 38 percent is speaking tone (paralinguistic) and 55 percent is body language.
Remember in the interview: 93 percent % of communication is nonverbal!
This information is important for your interview. According to Cynthia Shapiro, hiring managers hire a person with whom they have experienced a personal connection and with someone they feel comfortable. You can make a positive impression and connection with the interviewer through nonverbal communication cues which is the trick to many job offers. Think about whether the interviewer actually likes you.
Some questions to ponder from the JVS Job Search Workshop on Interview Skills are:
- How is your voice tone? Are you weak and whisper or are you clear, confident and using a moderate tone?
- How is your handshake? Is it firm and confident or is it a loose arm?
- How is your appearance? Are you dressed appropriately?
- How is your body language and eye contact? Are you looking at the person you are speaking too with positive eye contact and smiling?Are you slouching? Are you fidgeting? Do you appear interested? Do you sit upright and lean slightly forward in your chair (recommended)? Do you wait to be offered a seat or ask where he or she would like you to sit (recommended)? Do you appear interested?
- How is the space between you and the interviewer? Is there room between you when communicating in the interview? Are you right next to him or her (not recommended)? Are you arm’s length away (recommended)?
- How do you talk about yourself? Do you speak positively, confidently and demonstrate that you are listening by nodding? Do you take a couple of minutes to close the interview with a handshake, a thank you to the interviewer and demonstrate enthusiasm for the position?
To address the eye contact issue you raised: Adler points out that this is a prerequisite for listening. Although eye contact is different in each culture, in this country it is considered good manners for the listener to maintain eye contact with the speaker. Don’t stare – that might come across as creepy; do your best to come across as attentive, adds Adler.
Next time you practice for your interview, I would recommend asking the coach or friend to give you feedback on your nonverbal communication!