During an IT job interview, you’re very aware of the words that come out of your mouth. Hopefully, you’ll have thought about and planned your responses to some of the most common interview questions ahead of time, and you’ll have practiced speaking your answers out loud prior to your interview.
But how much have you thought about what you’re not saying?
Good nonverbal communication is a critical component to a successful interview. The way you present yourself, position yourself, and conduct yourself during an interview can sometimes tell hiring managers more than your words about the type of employee you’ll be — and they are definitely looking for those nonverbal cues. Are yours reinforcing your responses, or telegraphing that you don’t really want the job?
Here’s how you can use nonverbal communication to ace your next IT interview:
Dress for the part
You know you have to wear professional attire for an interview, but what constitutes “professional” at the particular company you’re interviewing with? When you dress as if you already belong in the environment, you’re sending a nonverbal signal to the interviewer that you’ve done your homework, and that you’re the right candidate for the position.
To hit this nonverbal cue, find out what you can about the company’s dress code. Look online, both at the company’s website and social media pages, where you’re likely to find at least a few photos of people at work. You can also visit the company prior to your interview and observe how everyone dresses.
Nail the handshake
It’s natural and expected for the interviewer to shake your hand when you arrive. The hiring manager will also develop an impression of you from that handshake — and if you make the wrong one, it’s difficult to correct that impression over the course of the interview.
First, make sure your hands are dry. Regardless of the reason, a damp handshake is never pleasant — so if your palms tend to sweat, or you use the bathroom before the interview, keep tissues with you and pat your hands down just before you head in.
The handshake itself should be firm (but not bone-crushing) and brief. Avoid a limp grip, which says you’re tentative and lack self-confidence, and definitely pass on the two-handed politician’s shake, which says you’re either arrogant or trying too hard.
Strike the right balance with eye contact
If you never meet the interviewer’s eyes, you’re communicating that you’re either too nervous to be effectively confident, or you’re absolutely uninterested in the position. On the other hand, turning an interview into a staring match can get awkward quickly and will place you on the do-not-hire list. Maintain casual and relaxed eye contact to demonstrate that you’re interested and engaged without entering coming off as creepy.
Own your chair
Unless the interview is extremely unusual, you’ll be invited to take a seat. From that moment forward, the chair is yours — so use that space to own it and project confidence. Sit with good posture (no slouching) in a relaxed and comfortable manner, and lean forward slightly to signify that you’re paying attention and ready to talk.
Keep your movement minimal
Some people talk with their hands as well as their mouths. If you’re one of them, train yourself to minimize the swooping arms and big hand gestures prior to an interview — after all, there’s no way to end an interview faster than to gesture for emphasis and knock over someone’s coffee cup or desk decoration.
The same goes for fiddling and fidgeting. If you’re constantly shaking a leg, tapping a foot, twisting a ring, twirling your hair, or clicking a pen, now is the time to break those nervous gestures — or at least learn to control them for as long as the interview lasts. This type of moment is distracting, and indicates to the interviewer that you’re uncomfortable for some reason. They’ll assume it’s because you don’t want to be there.
Make your nonverbal communication as big a priority as your verbal responses, and you’ll be ready to pass your next IT interview with flying colors. For more interviewing tips and advice, talk to the team at The Armada Group. We place top IT candidates at top companies across the nation and beyond, and we can help you prepare to ace any job interview.