A Guide to Mastering Non-Verbal Communication in Job Interviews – 8 Helpful Tips

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Have you ever wondered how much your non-verbal communication affects your chances of getting hired? Do you know how to use your body language, facial expressions, and voice to convey your confidence and professionalism in interviews? If not, you are missing out on a crucial aspect of the interview process that can make or break your impression on the interviewer.

What Is Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication is the way you communicate without words. It includes everything from your appearance and attire to your posture and gestures to your eye contact and tone of voice. Non-verbal communication can reveal your emotions, attitudes, and personality, as well as reinforce or contradict your verbal communication.

Non-verbal communication is especially important in interviews, where you have a limited time to showcase your skills, qualifications, and fit for the job. According to a study, 55% of hiring managers said that non-verbal communication is more important than verbal communication when evaluating candidates. 

Another study by Albert Mehrabian, a professor of psychology at UCLA, found that 55% of the meaning of a message is conveyed by non-verbal cues, 38% by vocal cues, and only 7% by words.

Importance Of Non-Verbal Communication In Job Interviews

Therefore, mastering non-verbal communication in job interviews is essential for projecting confidence and professionalism, as well as building rapport and trust with the interviewer. In this article, we will cover the following topics:

  • The role of non-verbal communication in interviews
  • Types of non-verbal cues
  • Using non-verbal cues to project confidence and professionalism
  • Tips for avoiding common non-verbal mistakes in interviews
  • Practicing non-verbal communication skills

The Role of Non-Verbal Communication in Job Interviews

Non-verbal communication plays a significant role in interviews, as it can influence how the interviewer perceives and evaluates you as a candidate. Non-verbal communication can:

  • Create a positive first impression: The first few seconds of an interview are crucial, as they can set the tone for the rest of the interaction. Your non-verbal communication can help you make a good impression by showing your enthusiasm, interest, and respect for the interviewer and the company.
  • Enhance your verbal communication: Your non-verbal communication can complement and support your verbal communication by adding emphasis, clarity, and credibility to your message. For example, using appropriate hand gestures can help you illustrate your points while maintaining eye contact can show your sincerity and confidence.
  • Express your personality and fit: Your non-verbal communication can also reveal your personality and fit for the job and the company culture. For example, your facial expressions can show your emotions and reactions, while your posture can show your level of comfort and confidence. Your non-verbal communication can help you convey your unique value proposition and differentiate yourself from other candidates.

Types of Non-Verbal Cues You Should Master Before A Job Interview

There are many types of non-verbal cues that you can use in interviews, but the most common ones are:

1. Facial expressions

Facial expressions are the movements of your eyes, eyebrows, mouth, and other facial muscles that convey your emotions and attitudes. Facial expressions are one of the most powerful and universal forms of non-verbal communication, as they can communicate a range of feelings, such as happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, and fear.

The most important facial expression in interviews is a genuine smile, as it can show your friendliness, positivity, and enthusiasm for the job. However, be careful not to overdo it or fake it, as it can come across as insincere or nervous. Another important aspect of facial expressions is eye contact, which can show your interest, engagement, and respect for the interviewer.

Eye contact can also indicate your honesty and confidence, as people tend to avoid eye contact when they are lying or insecure. However, be mindful of the cultural differences and preferences of the interviewer, as some cultures may view direct eye contact as rude or aggressive. A good rule of thumb is to maintain eye contact for about 50% of the time when you are speaking and 70% of the time when you are listening.

2. Body language

Body language is the way you position and move your body, head, arms, legs, and feet when you communicate. Body language can communicate your level of confidence, comfort, and openness, as well as your interest and attention.

The most important aspect of body language in interviews is your posture, which can show your confidence and professionalism. A good posture is to sit up straight, lean slightly forward, and keep your shoulders relaxed and your head level.

This posture can show that you are attentive, interested, and ready to engage. Avoid slouching, leaning back, or crossing your arms, as these postures can show that you are bored, disinterested, or defensive. Another important aspect of body language is your hand gestures, which can help you emphasize and illustrate your points, as well as express your emotions and personality.

However, be careful not to use too many or too large gestures, as they can be distracting or annoying. Use gestures that are natural, appropriate, and relevant to your message, and avoid negative gestures, such as pointing, tapping, or fidgeting.

3. Vocal cues

Vocal cues are the elements of your speech that are not the words, such as your tone of voice, pitch, volume, pace, and pauses. Vocal cues can communicate your mood, attitude, and confidence, as well as add meaning and emotion to your words.

The most important aspect of vocal cues in interviews is your tone of voice, which can show your enthusiasm, interest, and respect for the interviewer and the job. A good tone of voice is to speak clearly, warmly, and politely, using a moderate pitch and volume.

This tone of voice can show that you are confident, friendly, and professional. Avoid speaking in a monotone, high-pitched, or low-pitched voice, as these tones can show that you are bored, nervous, or arrogant. Another important aspect of vocal cues is your pace and pauses, which can show your level of preparation, clarity, and confidence.

A good pace and pauses are to speak at a moderate speed, not too fast or too slow, and to use pauses strategically to emphasize your points, create suspense, or allow the interviewer to process your information.

Avoid speaking too fast, as it can show that you are nervous, unprepared, or dishonest. Avoid speaking too slow, as it can show that you are unsure, hesitant, or uninterested. Avoid using too many filler words, such as “um”, “uh”, or “like”, as they can show that you are unprepared, unprofessional, or lacking confidence.

You might also like: 5 Common English Job Interview Questions And Their Answers

Using Non-Verbal Cues to Project Confidence and Professionalism During Job Interviews

Using non-verbal cues effectively can help you project confidence and professionalism in interviews, which can increase your chances of getting hired. Here are some tips on how to use non-verbal cues to your advantage:

1. Dress for success

Your appearance and attire are the first non-verbal cues that the interviewer will notice, so make sure you dress appropriately for the job and the company. Research the company culture and dress code, and choose an outfit that is clean, neat, and fits well.

Avoid wearing anything too casual, too flashy, or too revealing, as it can show that you are not serious, respectful, or professional. Choose colors that are neutral, conservative, and flattering, and avoid colors that are too bright, too dark, or too loud, as they can be distracting or inappropriate.

Accessorize with moderation, and avoid anything too large, too noisy, or too personal, such as jewelry, watches, or piercings. Make sure you are well-groomed, and avoid anything that can affect your hygiene, such as smoking, chewing gum, or wearing too much perfume or cologne.

2. Handshake etiquette

Your handshake is another non-verbal cue that can create a positive or negative impression on the interviewer, so make sure you do it right. A good handshake is to extend your right hand, palm facing down, and grasp the interviewer’s hand firmly, but not too tightly.

Shake their hand for about two to three seconds, while maintaining eye contact and smiling. A good handshake can show that you are confident, friendly, and respectful. Avoid a handshake that is too weak, too strong, too long, or too short, as it can show that you are insecure, aggressive, rude, or indifferent.

3. Mirroring and matching techniques

Mirroring and matching are techniques that involve subtly mimicking the non-verbal cues of the interviewer, such as their posture, gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, or pace of speech. These techniques can help you build rapport and trust with the interviewer, as well as show your interest and empathy.

For example, if the interviewer leans forward, you can lean forward slightly as well. If the interviewer nods, you can nod as well. If the interviewer speaks slowly, you can speak slowly as well. However, be careful not to overdo it or copy everything, as it can come across as insincere or creepy. Use these techniques sparingly and naturally, and only when they are appropriate and comfortable for you and the interviewer.

4. Navigating personal space

Personal space is the distance that you keep between yourself and others when you communicate. Personal space can vary depending on the culture, context, and relationship of the people involved. In general, there are four zones of personal space: intimate (0-18 inches), personal (18 inches-4 feet), social (4-12 feet), and public (12 feet and beyond).

In interviews, the appropriate zone is usually the social zone, which can show that you are respectful, comfortable, and professional. However, depending on the situation and the interviewer, you may need to adjust your personal space accordingly.

For example, if the interviewer moves closer to you, you can move closer as well, but not too close. If the interviewer moves away from you, you can move away as well, but not too far. Avoid invading or withdrawing from the interviewer’s personal space, as it can show that you are rude, aggressive, or uncomfortable.


Non-verbal communication is a vital skill that can help you ace your interviews and land your dream job. By using non-verbal cues effectively, you can project confidence and professionalism, as well as build rapport and trust with the interviewer. By avoiding non-verbal mistakes, you can avoid creating a negative impression or sending mixed signals to the interviewer. By practicing non-verbal communication skills, you can improve your non-verbal communication style and adapt to different situations and cultures.


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