When interviewing for employment you could be thinking that if you are the candidate with the best answers to interview questions, you'll get the job. In fact, that isn't typically the case.
CollegeJournal reports that, according to some studies, "Body language comprises 55% of the force of any response, whereas the verbal content only provides 7%, and paralanguage, or the intonation -- pauses and sighs given when answering -- represents 38% of the emphasis."
As you can see, nonverbal communication is as important, or even more important than, verbal communication. The evaluation of your nonverbal communication will start as soon as you walk into the company's lobby and continue until the interview is finished. If your nonverbal communication skills aren't up to par, it won't matter how well you answer the questions.
If you come to an interview reeking of cigarette smoke or chewing gum, you will already have one strike against you. Too much perfume or not enough deodorant won't help either. Not being dressed appropriately or having scuffed shoes will give you a second strike. Talking on your cell phone or listening to an IPod while waiting to be called for the interview may be your final strike.
What's important, when interviewing, is to appear professional and attentive throughout the interview process. Before you leave for the interview, make sure you are dressed professionally, neatly groomed, your shoes are polished, and you haven't overdone (none is better than too much) the perfume or aftershave. There's more than one hiring manager who won't hire someone they can smell (good or bad) before they meet them face-to-face.
The way you sit in the lobby, the way you greet the receptionist and the interviewer, and the way you wait, will all have an impact on whether you are going to be considered for the job. Be friendly and pleasant, but, not overbearing. If you need to wait, sit quietly (no phone calls) and patiently. Shake hands with the interviewer. Your handshake should be firm - not sticky or wimpy. To avoid sweaty palms, visit the rest room, wash your hands, then run them under cool water prior to the interview. Keep your palms open rather than clenched in a fist and keep a tissue you in your pocket to (surreptitiously) wipe them.
What's most important, is to remember that the image the interviewer has of you when he first meets you is the one that is going to last. If you're slouchy, sloppy or messy it won't matter how well you answer the interview questions. You are not going to get the job. When practicing for an interview, work on your nonverbal communications as well as your other interviewing skills. It could be what clinches the job offer for you.
"The Interview Advantage"
How to Use Nonverbal Communication to Impress
By Alison Doyle, About.com Guide
Note: One study at UCLA indicated that up to 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Another study indicated that the impact of a performance was determined 7 percent by the words used, 38 percent by voice quality, and 55 percent by the nonverbal communication.