The Nonverbal Interview: What You Don’t Say is Often More Important than What You Do

by Susan Mullin

More TorchLight tips on interviewing for marketing and communications jobs in D.C.

Our team of experienced marketing recruiters has written before with practical advice for D.C. marketing and communications job seekers about how to prepare for an interview, such as doing your research, getting your resume ready, showing up on time, and so on. But beyond an impressive resume and perfect preparation, what can really set you apart from the next candidate are those oft overlooked nonverbal behaviors that leave a lasting impression – for better or worse.

nonverbal interview

Based on our experience interviewing thousands of qualified candidates for marketing and communications jobs in D.C., we must emphasize the power of nonverbal communication in the interview process. In fact, even something as seemingly basic as offering a lifeless versus a strong handshake sets the tone and makes an impression.

The Washington Post wrote an article in August 2014 confirming what we already know to be true: That your interview begins well before you’re seated around a conference table. From what you do while you’re waiting in the lobby to the facial expressions you use and—yes—even your handshake, your interviewers are taking note.

The goal of a successful interview is to showcase your talents along with your social skills, so it is important to be mindful of these subtle, but impactful nonverbal cues:

Boost your body language

In addition to a confident handshake, good posture and leaning in (versus slouching back in your chair) sends a positive signal. Also try to limit hand gestures as they can distract from what you are talking about.

Make eye contact

While maintaining eye contact is crucial, avoid holding your gaze for too long. Experts in the article recommend making contact for 4-5 seconds at a time as you are speaking.

Smile and relax!

It’s hard to feel relaxed during a job interview, but the more you can be yourself, the easier it will be to express your skills and confidence. A relaxed and natural smile will help put you and your interviewer at ease and help build a positive rapport.

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Posted in , Interview Tips, Job Search Tips