Verbal and nonverbal messages

When people communicate they are doing so in two ways, verbal messages and nonverbal messages. Everyone does both forms of communication at the same all the time, even when they don't know it. You have seen examples of this; it's the person who is telling you something yet their body is saying the exact opposite. This is when verbal and nonverbal messages disagree. If someone has both verbal and nonverbal communication in line, you are more willing to trust their words and what they are presenting to you. It is the same way with employers during job interviews.

Verbal vs. Nonverbal

During a job interview, the employer is looking at both verbal messages and nonverbal messages to see if you are really showing interest in the position. While you will practice your answers to possible questions, you should also practice your voice and posture so that you are seen in a completely positive manner with nothing to hide from the employer.

Verbal Messages

Some of the verbal messages which may be noticed would be:

  • Tone of voice - you need to show enthusiasm in your voice
  • Pitch - your voice should sound natural and not forced
  • Nervousness - if you are nervous it will show in your voice, both in the speed and space of the words.

You need to have a verbal message of showing interest, being comfortable and friendly but also business-like in nature.

Nonverbal Messages

Most of what the employer will notice will be the nonverbal messages. These will convey if you are really showing interest in the position or just going through the motions.

  • Appearance - your appearance at the interview must convey how you will treat the importance of your position. If you come in wearing old jeans, or ungroomed or emitting an odor, the employer may wonder if you are always this way and you may be this way on the job as well.
  • Eye Contact - maintain eye contact as much as possible. Avoiding or averting your eyes will give the sense that you are not being truthful or you have something to hide
  • Gestures - gestures that convey involvement, enthusiasm and show interest are a positive; fidgeting and nervous gestures are distracting and give the appearance that you may be hiding something.
  • Facial Expression - smile during the interview; if you appear wanting and willing to be there it will show a better impression than a cold stone face without any emotion
  • Body Language - slumping shows laziness; stiffness shows worry or concern; arms crossed indicates you have closed yourself off and are guarded; slumped shoulders conveys the beaten down look of someone on their last stand. Instead, lean your body into the conversation slightly with your hands out in front of your body. This shows an interest and openness to the employer.

While you can control your verbal messages for the most part, you must also be in control of your nonverbal message as well. Showing an interest both vocally and in action will go a long way during the interview process.