30 NONVERBAL MANNERISMS TO AVOID WHEN
INTERVIEWING FOR A JOB
When you interview for a job, your nonverbal messages will be more important to the interviewer than your verbal messages.
Therefore, you should avoid mannerisms that make the interviewer feel uncomfortable or lead him
to conclude that you will not fit into their corporate environment. You want to avoid mannerisms that lower your credibility and hence call into question your competence to do the job.
Your goal is to convey that you are a competent, enthusiastic person who can interact well with others - your boss, your co-workers, your subordinates - in order to accomplish the organization's goals. You need to convey that you can interact and do business with the company's clients. You are a go-getter who can get the job done.
- Do not convey inconsistent messages - your words say that you are interested in the job, but the lack of dynamism in your facial expression and voice indicates the opposite.
- Do not call the interviewer by his first name (unless requested to do so) nor mispronounce the name.
- Do not groom or dress yourself in a manner that will attract undue attention or make you stand apart from those individuals at high levels in the organization.
- Do not sit until asked to by the interviewer.
- Avoid being "too" anything - not too flashy; not too casual in your dress or manner; not too talkative; not too quiet.
- Do not have a sullen, angry or disinterested facial expression.
- Do not invade the interviewer's personal space.
- Do not shake hands limply, nor just use your fingertips, nor pump the hand incessantly.
- Do not look away from the interviewer, unable to meet his/her gaze.
- Do not stare.
- Do not shift your weight from one foot to the other while standing, or rock back and forth.
- Do not slouch.
- Do not lean back against the back of your chair.
- Do not cross your legs.
- Do not engage in grooming mannerisms such as constantly pushing hair back or playing with your cuticles or nails.
- Do not fidget with your hands.
- Do not fiddle with anything - a pen, a notepad, a lock of hair, or your clothing.
- Do not pick up anything from the interviewer's desk without requesting permission.
- Do not look at your watch.
- Do not move your hands and arms about in wild and constant gestures.
- Do not fold your arms across your chest.
- Do not talk too little.
- Do not talk too much.
- Do not ramble.
- Do not forget to pause occasionally.
- Do not fill pauses with vocalized fillers such as "Uhh" or "Um."
- Do not rush in to fill silence with excessive words.
- Do not speak too softly.
- Do not speak too rapidly.
- Do not speak too slowly.
As you nonverbally convey your comfort during the interview, you make the interviewer feel more comfortable. S/he feels good about you because s/he feels good about the interaction with you. S/he
perceives you to be a credible and competent person who will make a good employee!
SOURCE: Adapted from Caryl and Ron Krannich, Savvy Interviewing: The Nonverbal Advantage (Manassas Park, VA: Impact
Publications, 2000), pp. 116-119.