Lothery & Associates

Less is More: Non-verbal Communication

So as I’m sitting and catching up on Facebook posts from friends, I saw a comment about how horrified an HR director was when a candidate showed up for an interview and thought that lotioning her feet while waiting to be called back was a good idea.  Say it with me…taking care of personal hygiene while waiting for an interview is a really bad idea!

The whole idea made me want to write a reminder about the impact of non-verbal communication. Let’s start with the lotioning. What does that say?

  1. You didn’t plan ahead and get up early enough to get completely dressed before your interview.
  2. You don’t respect the position for which you’re interviewing enough to want to put your best “foot” forward (couldn’t resist the pun, sorry).
  3. You don’t have enough pride in yourself to present a “total package” when you interview.

Don’t make these mistakes. Remember 55% of your first impression is based on your non-verbal communication. So think about:

Your clothes: Are you neatly pressed? Clean and without stains or rips? Are you “business appropriate” for the title you want? Are you a match for the office environment? Do you look like you’re “advertising” for a position other than an office job? Sexy is good for the nightclub, but not for gaining professional respect and attention.

Your hair: is it put together or wild? Did you show up looking like you just got out of the shower, or is there a style?

Your shoes: Ladies, does your driving shoe look like it has been through a war, or do you have a separate driving shoe to protect the backs of your heels? Men, when was the last time you buffed and shined your shoes? Do your shoes look older than you?

Your behavior: No gum chewing, eating, drinking, fidgeting, hair flicking, and definitely no lotioning! Toe tapping, pencil twirling, pen clicking and leg bouncing are all very distracting behaviors that will take your audience’s attention away from what you’re saying.

These aren’t just for job interviews, this is for all interpersonal communication in a professional setting.  I know as a manager, I ask my assistant how she is treated by all candidates and prospective vendors to see how they treat my support staff. If they’re high maintenance or rude to the person who keeps my schedule and helps my office run, they certainly can’t represent me. I say this as a reminder that you don’t need to show your “A-game” to your primary point of contact. Everyone you meet along the way is also interviewing and sizing you up.

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Don’t let something silly get in between you and your dream opportunity.


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