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January 2020
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Score a new project with these 16 nonverbal communication tips

Dorien JorissenDorien Jorissen

If freelancers want to land a new project, they need to be able to express themselves well and put their knowledge and experience into words. Verbal communication, however, doesn’t tell the whole story. Even if the interviewers are happy with your verbal responses, you can still send them mixed signals through nonverbal communication. This is the main reason why they also take your body language, paralanguage, attire and grooming into account. In fact, nonverbal communication has become a deciding factor in interviews.

In this blog, we’ll give you 16 tips on how to improve your nonverbal communication skills and woo your interviewers!

Before the interview

Let’s start with some nonverbal communication tips on what freelancers should do before the interview itself. Getting ready, arriving on time and acting properly are all part of this. After all, taking off with a flying start is crucial to score interesting freelance projects!

1. Take care of your appearance

AppearanceThe first and perhaps most important tip that you have to consider for interviews is to take care of your appearance. Freelancers going on an interview should dress professionally in an outfit that corresponds to the company’s dress code. At the same time, your clothing needs to make you feel comfortable. With a clean, appropriate outfit and polished shoes, you will certainly feel confident to start the interview.

Grooming yourself is also part of the deal. Make sure your hair is not a mess. If you’re worried your hair will get messy during travel, you can always take a brush with you and comb them before going in. Also, make sure to avoid unpleasant scents. This means keeping your body odor under control as well as not overdoing it on the perfume or aftershave. Another tip is not to smoke right before the interview, as smelling cigarettes is a no-go for many interviewers.

2. Be on time

Be on time!Another useful tip: arrive on time for your interview! Nothing is worse for making a good impression than being late. Interviewers will notice of course and wonder whether it’s a habit for you to not be on time. By allowing enough travel time, you don’t need to rush in traffic and you may even have some additional time to prepare yourself at the office. Not to mention it’ll save you a lot of stress!

3. Adopt a good posture

PostureAn interview starts as soon as you walk through the office doors. Make sure to adopt a good posture while waiting, whether you’re sitting or standing. Keep your head high and don’t fidget too much. Presenting yourself as a professional and showing confidence are key to impress the interviewers.

4. Be friendly

Be pleasant towards everyone at the company, from the receptionist and other employees you meet before the interview to the actual interviewer(s). Treating them with respect will certainly help you along in winning their favor for the project.

5. Give a firm handshake

Firmly and confidently shaking hands with the interviewer is a crucial factor in making a good impression. Just make sure that you have clean hands that aren’t too sweaty. Go the bathroom and wash your hands before the interview starts, if you think it might be necessary.

Handshake interview

During the interview

Thriving during interviews is an art, but the following tips on nonverbal communication will certainly help freelancers along!

6. Smile

SmileSmiling warmly when you meet the interviewer(s) for the first time will help you make a good start. It’s important to look happy, confident and at ease before the interview. A genuine smile even helps you feel better by reducing your stress.

Keep smiling (and nodding) throughout the interview, especially when an interviewer is telling or asking something. It shows that you’re confident about yourself and your skills, and that you’re paying attention.

7. Make eye contact

Making eye contact with the interviewer as you listen and respond to their questions shows your confidence and your interest in what they’re saying. It’s a crucial step in convincing them that you’re the right person for the project. However, also allow the eye contact to break once in a while. Staring might make you look aggressive, whereas avoiding eye contact makes you seem distant. With the right balance, though, you will come across as a positive and enthusiastic person!

8. Sit straight & lean slightly forward

SittingNonverbal communication also includes the way you sit during an interview. Try to sit straight with your lower back against your chair and lean a little towards the interviewer. This way, you look interested and engaged in the conversation. Make sure that you don’t sit in the same position the entire time, but don’t fidget too much either. Bouncing your legs, playing with your hair and fidgeting are all signs of nervousness.

Overall, it’s important that your body language doesn’t only convey your confidence, but also your openness towards others. A customer wants to know that the freelancers working on their project listen to their wants and needs.

9. Use your hands (but not too much)

Use your handsFind the right balance between subtle movements with your hands and acting too ‘stiff’. Use your hands in a natural everyday manner, but don’t distract your conversation partner. By using your hands to accentuate your words, you show engagement and enthusiasm for the subject.

10. Mirror the interviewer

Mirroring is a subtle and natural manner of imitating someone’s movements, such as crossing legs, hand gestures, facial expressions, … By imitating the positive body language of the interviewer(s) and following their mood, you can easily gain their trust.

11. Use the right tone of voice

Nonverbal communication respectKeep an even tone of voice, while you speak during the interview. Be enthusiastic and show your passion for the project with your voice. Just don’t speak either too loudly or too quietly, both can be quite annoying for the person sitting in front of you.

12. Show respect

This tip is quite general: show respect to the interviewer in every way. Prepare for the interview by taking a look at the company’s website, thoroughly reading the vacancy again and preparing some questions. Listen actively to the questions and explanations of the interviewers and don’t interrupt them. Of course you may ask questions, just let them finish first. Acknowledging the achievements of the company is also a good idea if you want to land the project.

13. Stay calm

Stay calmKeep your emotions to yourself, even if you’re nervous or frustrated during the interview. Just stay calm and everything will turn out okay. Also try to suppress restless habits: nail biting, knuckle cracking, hair twirling and leg tapping are all habits that are both unprofessional and impolite. They moreover convey the message that you’re nervous.

14. Speak clearly

Always speak slowly and clearly to make your point. By rushing, your conversation partner won’t be able to keep up with your ideas and opinions. By using clear and shorter sentences, you will come to the point faster.

15. Take notes

NotesMake sure to bring a notepad and a pen to the interview. This way, you can take notes if you’re worried about forgetting something. By bringing pen and paper, some work samples and your portfolio with resume, you will look like the professional freelancer you are. Interviewers will certainly like this!


After the interview

For many people, making a good impression before and during an interview is the most logical thing in the world. How you behave after the interview, however, is important too. With this final nonverbal communication tip, you will certainly leave the interview in style.

16. Gracefully say goodbye

Thanking the interviewer for the conversation and giving them another firm handshake is the perfect ending of an interview. Saying goodbye or waving to the receptionist on your way out isn’t a bad idea either. The first impression is important, but a graceful goodbye will leave a lasting impression too.

Just like job applicants during regular job interviews, most freelancers know what to answer to general questions, but are a bit unsure about how to act. With these tips on nonverbal communication, however, all their problems have come to an end and interviews aren’t that scary anymore!

Goodbye interview

Would you like to put these tips to the test? Are you looking for a partner for excellent outsourcing and consultancy? Don’t hesitate to contact IT MATCH!