What signals does your body language send?
The most important communication during the medical sales job interview is often the unspoken kind. Body language, or nonverbal communication, can let interviewers know more about you than what you tell them.
We have all seen instances in which someone is saying one thing and their nonverbal communication says another. We usually always believe the nonverbal. It’s an absolutely critical element in the medical sales job interview process. The best resume, the absolute best spoken words don’t get an individual a job.
There are many opportunities during a medical sales job interview to display bad—and
good—nonverbal communication. Here’s how to make the most of what your body is saying.
Shake on it
Your interviewer’s initial nonverbal impression of you comes through your first point of
contact—the handshake. Don’t be afraid to display a strong, firm handshake. Doing otherwise can make you seem insecure and lacking in confidence.
It sounds simple, but it is not. People tend to not slide their palm in far enough, they tend to think it may be bone-crushing. Don’t be timid—slide your palm all the way in and
deliver a firm, confident handshake.
If you have several seating options to choose from, ask your interviewer for instructions—don’t just assume and take a seat. How you sit, too, is as important as where you sit. If you are sitting on the edge of the seat it can make you look eager but also scared, like you are ready to bolt out of the room. Go ahead and slide to the back of the chair and sit up tall and straight. That will make you look confident and comfortable.
Women should not cross their legs and instead sit with their knees together. Men should avoid sitting with their legs too wide apart or crossed with the ankle on top of the knee. Both these positions convey a comfort level that’s inappropriate to the medical sales job interview situation.
Anything that creates an intimacy before there’s a rapport established will signal to the
interviewer that you don’t use good judgement and that you resort to inappropriate behavior. Also, make sure you maintain a comfortable space—about three (3) feet—
from your interviewer. Shortening that space can feel invasive and, again, inappropriately intimate.
Nervous hand habits, like nail biting, hair twirling and hand twitching, can distract the interviewer and, convey nervousness and insecurity. You can sit with your hands clasped together or hold on to a small briefcase or organizer through the interview. Avoid steeping your fingers, particularly in an upright position, when answering a question. This can be perceived as arrogant, saying “I know more about this subject than you do.”
The eyes have it
We have all heard that eye contact is important—it conveys confidence and respect—but
too much eye contact can be bad, too. The rule of thumb is to make contact for no more than three to five seconds. It’s too intense to sustain it the whole time—the key is make
it, break it, make it, break it. Avoiding eye contact, especially when answering a question, can convey dishonesty. When you have two people interviewing you, be sure to give most of the eye contact to the person doing the talking. However, so that the other person does not feel left out, you should make eye contact with them a few times during the interview.
Practice makes perfect
Because most forms of nonverbal communication are practiced subconsciously, the best way to get rid of bad habits is to become aware of them. Get a friend or family member to practice interview situations with you. Using a video camera to tape the mock sessions can be even more helpful. Play the video and view it with a critical and detached eye. Ask yourself, “What would I like and not like about this person nonverbally? What’s
making me feel comfortable, making me feel like I can build a rapport with this person?”
Suggest you get your mock interview partner to ask the tough questions that would make you nervous and susceptible to bad body language. Notice what you do under pressure and be conscious of it. The awareness is half the battle.
Nonverbal cues offer insight into interviewer
Don’t just listen to what your interviewer is saying—watch his or her body language. It
can reveal how the interview is going. If the interviewer touches his/her nose, they are disapproving somewhat of what you are saying. If they look their watch or shuffle papers, you are not on track. If the interviewer leans toward you, they are engaged and really listening and taking you seriously. If he/she is leaning back far into the chair, they are evaluating you with a critical eye.
If your interviewer suddenly switches gears—from relaxing in the chair to sitting upright,
for example—you may have said something that he/she needs to evaluate from a different perspective.
You can tell a difficult question is coming if the interviewer places his/her fingertips together in an upright, steeple-like fashion. This signals that they have disconnected from the interviewee, and is thinking about what he will say next, possibly considering how to say something unpleasant or uncomfortable or how to ask a delicate or emotionally-charged question.
And last, but certainly not least, if the interviewer stands up, the interviewer is over.