Application tips

10 Tips for verbal and nonverbal communication in job interviews

26 Jul 2021
Good preparation for a job interview is half the battle, but your performance during the interview is obviously critical to increase your chances of success. In this article, we will discuss 10 tips for a good job interview. The focus will be on the importance of verbal and nonverbal communication.


Scientific research shows that our communication is primarily determined by nonverbal communication! What we say and how we say it is important, but our body language is possibly even more important. So during a job interview, you will need to pay attention to your verbal and your nonverbal communication.


Hello there!

The first impression is important. Very important! So start your job interview with a confident handshake and nod to your recruiter’s colleagues. This will give you an immediate advantage.

Physical care and clothing

It may sound obvious, but make sure you are looking good and clean. Avoid unpleasant odors like smoke and sweat, make sure your hands are clean and that your hair is not in a mess. A good candidate takes good care of himself or herself.

body language in a job interview

Start thinking about your ‘stage outfit’ a few days before your interview. This way you will have enough time to shine on stage without any additional stress. Choose an outfit that looks good, corresponds to the dress code and makes you feel good. Allow plenty of travel time! This way you will not need to run and sweat. Don’t smoke prior to your job interview and put a bottle of deodorant and a brush or comb in your bag. These are details that can make a huge difference.

Be confident!

During your job interview try to sit upright with your back against the backrest of your seat. And try to make direct eye contact. Don’t stare or look around all the time. Make sure you are giving the impression that you are alert and interested.

Don’t sit out the entire job interview in the same position. This will harm the quality of the interview and it will hurt your back! You can easily change your position by, for example, tilting your head to the right. Through this small movement, you will subconsciously look reliable and professional.

body language personal space Respect the personal space

Respect the ‘personal space’ of the recruiter. You don’t need to convince the recruiter by leaning as close as possible against him or her. Make sure you are not sitting or standing closer than 1 m and not more than 3 meters away from your recruiter.

Don’t exaggerate!

Ensure a balance between subtle movements and a ‘stiff’ posture. Try not to continuously wave your arms and hands throughout the job interview. This may be perceived as disturbing. The same applies to someone who is not moving at all.

‘Mirroring’ is a natural way of moving which lets you gain the trust of your recruiter. By imitating the movement of your recruiter in a subtle and natural manner (crossing legs, arms on the table, hand under the head…) you will indicate that you agree with the recruiter. This way you can make a subconscious ‘connection’.

Are you ready for a job interview?


‘The voice’

Speak with a clear volume and take care of your pronunciation, intonation and rhythm. Provide variety in your intonation and speak in a calm manner. Concentrate on your breathing while speaking. This avoids a hasty impression.

Further, avoid filler words, such as ‘yes’,’ uhm’ and ‘so’, and definitely don’t sigh after a question. Use short and simple sentences, finish your sentences and stick to the structure of the job interview.

Always look on the bright side of life

Always be positive when telling your story. Don’t tell just what went wrong in previous experiences, but also discuss how you solved issues and which lessons you learned while doing so. Always be honest in your answers and always emphasize the positive!

Beware! You know more than your recruiter.

Remember that the recruiter may not have the same background as you. He or she is not a technical specialist and may not have the same knowledge and experience. So don’t try to be the all-knowing professor during the job interview.

Provide thorough answers but avoid the small technical details. Distinguish between main and side issues. If something is not clear then the recruiter will ask additional questions.

Do you have any questions for us?

Yes, of course, you still have questions! Prepare some interesting questions about the company and your specific position prior to the job interview. This will emphasize your interest in the company in your position. Try to avoid open questions and questions to which you could find the answer on the website or somewhere else. Also, provide example answers. This way you can make it easier for the recruiter and you can showcase your vision.

Thank you!

Thank the recruiter for the invitation and his or her time and walk out in a decent way. Be aware that you may still be watched, so keep your dance of joy or your frustrations for a later time.

5 + 5 = 12!

Take care of your verbal and nonverbal communication during your job interview. The natural and subtle interplay between these two forms of communication is crucial to make a reliable impression.

For example, you can hardly claim that you have an open personality when you are holding your arms crossed during the entire interview. And you will not be credible when you are avoiding eye contact with every answer.

Nonverbal communication makes up a large part of our communication. Therefore body language will determine to a large extent the impression you will leave behind after a job interview.


body language joe navarro Obviously, this list of tips is not exhaustive. Do you have any additions or questions? Please feel free to share them using the comment form underneath this article. Do you want to read more about nonverbal communication? The bestselling book “What Every Body is Saying” by former FBI agent Joe Navarro won’t be your only source of inspiration it will be a good place to start for sure!

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