Whether you are being interviewed for a job or for entry into an academic program, non-verbal communication is an important factor that can influence the outcome of an interview. Non-verbal cues, such as gestures, posture, facial expressions, and even the tone of our voice, are observed and analyzed during interviews and other important social interactions. Most of our non-verbal cues are a reflection of our emotional states, therefore, being mindful of our emotions and thoughts can help us improve our non-verbal communication.
Whether you are face to face with someone, mask to mask, or behind a screen, non-verbal communication is a major part of effective communication. Dr. Albert Mehrabian discovered that the verbal component of communication only accounts for 7% of all communication, while the non-verbal component accounts for the remaining 93% (Mehrabian, 1981).
The exact breakdown of the components of communication is (Mehrabian, 1981):
Spoken words (7%)
Linguistic tone and inflections (38%)
Facial expressions and body language (55%)
This proves that actions speak louder than words.
3 non-verbal tips to help you make the best impression in an interview:
1. Smile - relax and be confident
Try not to get so engrossed in answering questions that you forget about your countenance. Smiling can help improve your likability and show your enthusiasm - and if you are relaxed and confident, a genuine smile will come easily.
2. Uncross your arms
From an interviewer’s perspective, crossing your arms can make you seem stiff and untrustworthy. An alternative would be to clasp your hands or let them move freely and make gestures when appropriate.
3. Maintain good posture
Avoid leaning back in your seat and slouching, which might tell an interviewer that you are not interested in the conversation. Try not to fiddle with your hands or bounce your feet either, as these are tell-tale signs of nervousness. Sit upright to look and feel more confident.