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

by Gaby Gramont

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.

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.

nonverbal interview

We recently came across a worthwhile article, What You Don’t Say Can Help You Win That Job, in the August 3, 2014, issue of the Washington Post that we wanted to share with our readers. This article confirms 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.

If you are ready to get started on your search for a new marketing and communications position in Washington, D.C., upload your resume to our database today. If there’s a job that matches your skills and interests, we’ll be in touch to set up a phone interview—and then you can put these skills to work to find that next job! &

Posted in Interview tips