Non-Verbal Cues

Personal appearance is a major part of the interview preparation. Appearance is the strongest non-verbal cue in an interview. The best guideline for appearance is to present yourself in a manner that is consistent with how most employees currently present themselves on the job.

Walk, stand, and/or sit in an erect, yet comfortable position.

Nod, head shake, smile, laugh, and volume of voice can indicate that you are "with the interviewer". Gestures and facial expressions also help you communicate without talking. Lack of interest is displayed by fiddling, monotone voice, and poor eye contact.

Stomach in knots, palms sweaty, and perspiring - interviewers generally understand and are sympathetic toward students who have limited interviewing experience. Being prepared may give you the necessary self-confidence.

Business-like attire, paying particular attention that wrinkles are pressed and shoes shined. Have neatly groomed hair and DO NOT overdo make-up, jewelry, or wear aftershave or cologne that will linger after you leave the room.

Before, During & After The Interview

Before: Prior to an interview, it may be helpful to consider the following

  • Appearance - Unconventional appearance may result in negative reactions.
  • Dress appropriately in professional attire.
  • Be prepared for surprise or awkward questions.
  • Consider how to deal with on-the-spot nervousness, should it arise, by deeply breathing and slowing down speech.
  • Have an opening remark in mind.
  • Spend time researching the company.
  • Know the time and location of the interview and plan to arrive early.
  • Review the sample questions provided in this section of the web site..
  • Be prepared to discuss salary, if the subject is raised.
  • Practice interviewing skills and questions with a friend who would play the role of the interviewer or set up a mock interview session at the Career Development Center.

During: Be aware of the following considerations during the interview itself:

  • Understand that the physical setting of the interviewing room, time factors, mood of the interviewer, and other circumstantial factors beyond your control may contribute to the outcome.
  • Be concise, yet specific, in representing yourself.
  • Stress positive points about yourself in an honest and confident manner.
  • Listen to yourself - avoid too much or too little talking.
  • Take time to reflect, if needed, before answering a question.
  • Be sensitive to your own and the interviewer's nonverbal behavior, such as eye contact, posture, intonation, yawning, and nervous habits. Be aware of the tone of the interview - the interviewer may be trying to see how you react to stress.
  • Convey enthusiasm about the position and organization.
  • Politely ask for clarification of a question if not understood. Check for correct perception by rephrasing the question.
  • Be a STAR. When answering a question, provide the employer a Situation or Task you've undertaken, Action you've taken to accomplish your goal, and Results of your effort.
  • Raise questions at the appropriate time.
  • Know the next step after the interview.
  • At the end, thank the interviewer (USE THE INTERVIEWER'S NAME).

After: This step is just as important as the other two.

  • Reflect on what occurred and take notes following the interview which consist of the interviewer's name, strengths/weaknesses of the interview, and something about the follow-up procedure will be helpful in your final evaluation and decision-making process.
  • Sending a thank you letter or a follow-up letter is appropriate and highly recommended by the Career Development Center. Items to include may be an expression of appreciation for the interview, statement of your continued interest in the position, overlooked information in the interview, and/or information that has developed since the interview.
  • Be prepared when and if you are called back for a second interview. Refer to the Second/On-Site Interview section.