Becoming Professional: A Blog

I’m Not-Talking at You!

Posted on: January 23, 2010


This week’s topic is what happens before and during the job interview. No, I’m not talking about resumes, and no, I’m not talking about finding the openings. Let’s assume you’ve done all that. This week, we’re discussing how to make that good impression.

Yup, we’re talking posture! And some other things.

According to the CollegeJournal, some studies say that body language, like posture, communicate 55% of a response, where verbal communication gets accross only 7% of it. Paralanguage, otherwise known as intonation, pauses, and sighs, give our responses 38% of their emphasis. What that means for you and me, innocent job hunters? Talking is good, but how you talk is more important.

Here’s a few things you can do to let your non-talking do the talking for you:

  • Look Professional: You want to act like a professional, so you have to look like one. Remember, it not only has to quack like a duck, it has to look like one, too, before we can say it’s a duck. For more info on this, check out my other blog posts here.
  • Sit Tall: Keep your back straight and show your focus on the interviewer by leaning slightly forward. Don’t go over-eager (like climbing on the table to get closer) but don’t sit back. Basically, stay alert and focused, and your body should do this for you.
  • Keep Your Gestures Small: Waving your arms about is probably not a good idea. Don’t fidget. It looks funy.
  • Don’t Make Funny Faces: According to this website some people go into interviews so intense they look like axe murderers. I doubt they get the job. Try to look calm and confident.
  • Look ‘Em in the Eye: Eye contact in America is important. It shows sincerity and honesty. If we were in Japan, I’d say don’t look the person in the eye. But this blog isn’t for Japan. If it were it would be in Japanese.
  • Don’t Pop Space Bubbles: People have different space bubles, so be careful not to interfere. As the Interviewee, it’s okay (and even expected) to bring a pad of paper and your portfolio, but don’t lay them out on the table in a way that threatens the interviewer’s space.
  • The Firm Handshake: Cliche but true, a firm handshake is important. eHow suggests you shake everyone’s hand, too. I might get a squeeze ball myself, to practice.

So next time you go into an interview keep these things in mind. Last thing you want is to look so intense that the interviewer thinks you’re a psycho killer and calls the cops. Though that might make for a good story, so it’s up to you.

Do you have any good stories about when you used nonverbal communication in a job interview or work situation? Or better yet, anything to add to my list?

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4 Responses to "I’m Not-Talking at You!"

I followed this back from jibberjobber =) great info on a subject many may not even consider when going into the interview – these are those things we just take for granted and don’t focus on. Nervousness aside it’s good to be aware of our body language. Thanks for sharing!

You’re absolutely right, Karen. Nerves always get to me when interviewing–I fidget–so I completely understand why sometimes we concentrate so much on nerves that we forget posture and other nonverbal communication.

Good points, Karen! I ran into you on Jason Alba’s blog. Interviewing makes everyone nervous even people who have been in the career field for many years. Everything you said is correct. Nonverbal speaks loudly. Dress the part of a professional for the interview and your confidence will boost.

I didn’t even make that connection-Yes, if we dress the part, we’ll feel more confident, which will keep down on the nerves and allow us to concentrate on our self presentation. Thank you for the tip!

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Who Am I?

I am a Digital Native who is trying to puzzle out what exactly that means. I share my thoughts on social media, digital business models, and PR here on this blog.

I am currently getting my Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School, having gotten my B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University. Everything is on track and I am making headway towards my dream: World Domination... or being a productive, helpful citizen and marketer. Whichever comes first.

Don't hesitate to get in touch. I Tweet daily at @KateDavids and also have a science fiction and fantasy blog (maskedgeek.wordpress.com) and Twitter (@Masked_Geek).

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