Are Your Non-verbal Skills Preventing You from Getting the Job?

Not Fidget
Not Fidget (Photo credit: TheHuxCapacitor)
So, you’ve been practicing and practicing answering typical interview questions and you think that you are getting pretty good at answering them.  You’re going on interviews and showing off some pretty good verbal skills - but you still haven’t gotten the job. What’s up with that? 

Maybe it is your non-verbal communication skills - or lack of - that is preventing you from getting the job.

Non-verbal communication skills are something that every employer looks at, even if they don’t realize that they are. Things like your facial expressions and your body language are speaking loud and clear and employers pick up on them, even if they aren’t consciously looking.  They may be the reason that the interviewer is thinking, “Nope.  That’s not the one,” despite the fact that you had all the right answers, the right skills, and a great resume.

Want to make sure your non-verbal skills match the verbal ones?  Here’s a few tips.


You practice you verbal skills so why not practice your non-verbal ones?  The best way to do it is to see it for yourself.  Set up your web cam or a video recorder and have someone ask you interview questions.  It’s best to have the camera set up so that you can capture your whole body and not just your face.  When you are done recording, watch the video.  You might be surprised to find that you have a nervous twitch or that you lick your lips a lot or that your eyes shift around the room.  This is something you won’t notice until you see it for yourself or someone points it out to you.

Be Aware

The next time you practice for an interview (because you really should be doing this more than once) be mindful of what kind of verbal signals you are giving off.  Now that you know what you do you can stop yourself if you are thinking about it.  Once someone told me that whenever I crossed my legs I bounced my foot up and down when I was nervous or excited.  The next time I was in an interview, I caught myself at it and was able to stop.  And don’t forget to make eye contact with the interviewer. 

Quit Fidgeting with Your Hands

After they eyes, the hands can be one of the biggest non-verbal communicators.  When you’re in a situation where you’re in the spotlight, the hands will tell what a person is feeling.  Are you twiddling with a pen?  Are you picking your cuticles?  Are you touching your hair?  All of these things give off negative verbal signals that the interviewer will pick up on.

It takes awareness and practice to use good non-verbal communication skills.  Practice these skills just as you practice answering interview questions and you’ll soon find that you get much better results from interviews.