Lesson 10: Nonverbal Behaviors
It may not only be what you say in an interview that matters, but also how you say it (e.g., how fast you speak) and how you behave during the interview (e.g., hand gestures, eye contact). In other words, although applicant responses to interview questions influence interview ratings, their nonverbal behaviors may also affect interviewer judgments. Nonverbal behaviors can be divided into two main categories: vocal cues (e.g., articulation, pitch, fluency, frequency of pauses, speed, etc.) and visual cues (e.g., smiling, eye contact, body orientation and lean, hand movement, posture, etc.). Oftentimes physical attractiveness is included as part of nonverbal behavior as well. There is some debate about how large a role nonverbal behaviors may play in the interview. Some researchers maintain that nonverbal behaviors affect interview ratings a great deal, while others have found that they have a relatively small impact on interview outcomes, especially when considered with applicant qualifications presented in résumés. The relationship between nonverbal behavior and interview outcomes is also stronger in structured interviews than unstructured, and stronger when interviewee answers are of high quality.