It’s college interview season for those who applied Regular Decision to colleges and we wanted to walk you through some college interview behavior and how it can influence an impression. Specifically, we’re going to speak about nonverbal behaviors. Often times, one’s nonverbal behavior can unknowingly convey messages to an interviewer regardless of whether or not you intended this to be the case. So it’s important to be aware of your nonverbals and, so you are, let’s walk you through a few behaviors.
Are you familiar with the hand steeple? It’s what Kevin O’Leary from ABC’s hit series “Shark Tank” is doing in the photo, a gesture he holds throughout much of the hour-long show. The hand steeple is a rare nonverbal cue that conveys confidence, confidence, and more confidence. It’s a gesture that you don’t see very often but should you see it in a board room, prior to a 50-meter freestyle, or at a poker table, know that you’re in the presence of someone who is utterly confident about something. As someone interviewing for college, we urge students not to display the hand steeple. Students are being interviewed and, as such, they have no business displaying such a confident gesture. It’s arrogant and it risks turning off your interviewer. Who wants to go to bat for someone who is utterly confident about themselves and their chances for admission to your university? Quite the opposite.
Another nonverbal cue is touching near the neck. Many people who are nervous touch their neck. They’re quite literally — and unknowingly usually — massaging their carotid artery to lower their heart rate. If your heart rate is going through the roof during the interview and you find yourself sweating and stuttering, then by all means do whatever is necessary to calm yourself down. If that means touching your neck, then touch your neck. But know that it’s a distraction and it conveys nervousness and anxiety. Try to avoid touching your neck and parts of your face while being interviewed. It’s important to not appear too confident, but it’s also important not to appear too nervous.