How Gestures Speak Louder Than Words

The tired and true saying “a picture paints a thousand words” is certainly relevant for the active job seeker. Hand placement, posture, and eye movement are subtle but powerful indications of interest and self-esteem that are often overlooked in preparation. Whether delivered in person or through a video interview; your visual impression provides context associated with your name in vital hiring conversations. That’s right, the words you use are not the only measure of capability, desire, and confidence to deliver value.

So why is this so crucial to hiring authorities? An application offers a short window to substantiate value. Interviewers have very few parameters to verify fit. Words alone can be misinterpreted, body language closes the gap in a reliable, organic dynamic. Here’s an example; conveying excitement with your arms crossed in front of your chest relays hesitation and communicates doubt; directly contradicting acceptance “with open arms.” Anticipate that your interviewer will be tuned in and practiced in reading unintended signals. Controlling your nonverbal messages is as important as rehearsing your answers to interview questions.

Once you fine-tune your own body language, you can sharpen your perception to uncover additional insight in all of your conversations. Take this approach to your interview and continually monitor the body language of the opposing party, too. Those with an acute sense of attention to what is not explicitly said more often maintain an accurate assessment of employer interest. Say an interviewer takes in the answer to your question with a head shake; you may sense a hidden message of disapproval. Seize on the opportunity to adjust your response, turning the initial negative impression into approval – molding the best possible interview outcome.

Silent Considerations for Your Next Interview: 

  • Control Facial Expressions | Your face is the most prevalent nonverbal domain; animating content, validating integrity, and relaying emotion. Genuine smiles and direct eye contact convey positive energy and authentic honesty; universal qualities every employer seeks. Maintaining a steady amount of eye contact also reaffirms interest and adds the weight of conviction; insinuating that you care about engaging the listening party and that you are confident in your contribution to the conversation.
  • Watch Those Hands | It is fairly common for people to “talk” with their hands; it’s probably one of the loudest ways your body communicates without words. Keep those palms up to indicate friendliness and don’t be afraid to move animatedly if that’s how you normally communicate. Demonstrate emphasis with your hands. Be natural; respond in a way that reflects your regular style of conversing. A well-managed attempt to prohibit engrained habits may negatively impact your answers; read as overly stiff, or insincere. Don’t change your tenancies; just be extra aware of them – that way if something catches you off guard when it counts; your gestures don’t betray you.
  • Sit Up Straight but Lean In, Too | Posture tells people a great deal about your confidence and interest level. Slouch in your chair and the message is that you’re not very interested. Lean back- adding physical distance between yourself and the interviewer, and you are inadvertently demonstrating a gap in expectations and your ability to deliver. Sit up straight and command competence; lean into the interviewer while addressing them and imply a shared level of interest.
  • Practice Makes Perfect | No matter who your interview is with and what medium they choose to use… You will be expected to discuss your professional background in detail. To prepare; identify the most relevant accomplishments and build responses to your contributions. Practice emphasis as well as the content. Have a video interview? Record yourself; rehearse with questions identified by your recruiter or other reliable sources. If you have an in-person; conduct a mock interview in advance with someone you trust. The person most equipped for the task can offer the critical feedback you need to improve and share reasonable encouragement to reinforce confidence.

Regardless of your preferred method of preparation; self-awareness is key to commanding the proper body language. Master this visual detail and uncover even more success in your career. Are you an IT professional looking for more tips; or ready to partner with us in your job search? Give us a call 201-617-0022.

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