It’s more than what you say in an interview that lands the job

Body language is an extremely important detail in defining how you come across to a potential employer.  Communication experts tell us that 80% of our communication with others is non-verbal.

Make eye contact.  One of the best ways to connect with people and build trust is to look them in the eye.  Eye contact is also important during a group interview.  Throughout our recruiting careers, we’ve occasionally had candidates arrive at an employer thinking they were going to be in a one-on-one interview setting, only to be ushered into a conference room with four to five hiring authorities asking them questions one after the other.  So, it’s important to make each interviewer feel important by rotating your gaze and giving them all eye contact.  Have you ever heard someone say, “I didn't trust that guy, he didn't look me in the eye!”?  Your eyes are the windows to your soul and often convey to others that you are trustworthy and earnest.

Smile.  Most people, when they're under pressure, don't smile and appear nervous and lacking in confidence.  It's amazing how something as simple as a smile can project confidence and leadership... even if you're a nervous wreck.

Sit up straight.  We can't tell you the number of times hiring managers have rejected good candidates because they were too laidback in their interview... literally.  This is especially true for candidates over 50 years old.  Disgracefully, older job seekers are often prejudged as lacking in drive and ambition; however, younger job seekers need to also be on guard against being too casual or relaxed.  Sitting up straight and leaning slightly forward sends the following non-verbal signals: I'm listening intently. I'm interested in what you have to say. I have a lot of energy and I'm ready to go to work.

Use a firm handshake.  Finally, our top pet peeve… the dead fish handshake.  It seems ludicrous to be judged negatively by a limp handshake, but people do it all the time.  A firm handshake (not crushing, just firm) conveys confidence and positivity, two attributes you definitely want to portray when you’re interviewing.

It's hard to believe that in a few seconds you can make these non-verbal impressions, but it's true. So ignore these at your own peril.  Look ‘em in the eye, sit up straight (like your mother taught you), lean in a little, and for god’s sake, don’t hand them a limp mackerel when shaking hands.

Pay attention to the non-verbal cues you’re sending. You’ll be glad you did when that offer is extended.