It’s What You’re Not Saying

Using your professional skills developed through DECA, you submit your resume to prospective employers. Suddenly, the waiting game is over. They’ve called you in for an interview. Now it’s time to review those job interview skills that you learned in class. This is where being a DECA member really pays off.

You know how to answer the interviewer’s questions, you’ve dressed the part, but are your non-verbal skills ready for the interview? It is no secret that body language speaks volumes. It is full of emotions, messages, and signals, plus it is crucial to proper and effective communication. In fact, it is actually more important than anything that you might say in an interview.

If you don’t understand the intricate cues being conveyed by your interviewer, or even the ones you are putting off, it can jeopardize your employment. Here are the facts:

  • Body language accounts for up to 55% of all communication.
  • Tone of voice accounts for 38%.
  • The words you use only accounts for up to 7%.

The way you sit, the way you walk, your expression as you speak and what you do with your hands are all cues to the interviewer of what you are really thinking. Follow these tips and show your interviewer that you are more than prepared for the job:

  • Eye contact is key. You want to show self-confidence by maintaining eye contact, but don’t cross the line to starring. This can make the interviewer uneasy.
  • Try your hardest not to fidget with your hands. This shows nervousness to the interviewer. If you are sitting, hold them on your lap or use them while speaking to enhance what you are saying. If you are standing, again, use them to enhance your words or keep them at your side. Be aware, however, that you don’t use them too much or it could become distracting.
  • Smile as much as possible. This one is huge. Nobody wants to hire someone who is negative, uneasy, or unhappy. People are much more likely to listen and take what you have to say to heart if you are willing to lighten up a little bit every once in a while.
  • Check your posture. Make sure that you are never slouched. Make sure that when you are sitting a chair, you are not hunched over or leaning back too much, as it can become distracting and show you are not listening. When standing, imagine a rope attached to your sternum up towards the sky. Leave your hands at your sides with your thumb lightly resting against your index and middle fingers. This conveys confidence.

Interviews can be stressful, but if you take the time to prepare, you can relax and enjoy the experience. By practicing the essentials of proper non-verbal communication, you will become a pro in no time. Don’t forget, you can even apply these tips to DECA competitive events as well! Happy job hunting!

Follow Jack on Twitter @decajack.

Categories: Career Advice, College & Career Advice, Compete, DECA News, High School, HS Competitive Events, Job Advice, Presentation Prep, Role-Play, Strategies, Tips For Finding A Job