There’s tons of non-verbal communication going on in dental hygiene job interviews.
As I have interviewed people over the years, including hygienists, I’ve sometimes learned more about a person from things they didn’t say.
So this week I thought it would be great to share some non-verbal tips that will help you land a dental hygiene job.
Strike a Pose
Remember how Leo DiCaprio in Titanic seemed to have this thing for standing with outstretched arms at the ship’s prow? He was on to something.
Body language expert Amy Cuddy has proven that two minutes of “making yourself big” before an interview changes your brain in ways that build courage, reduce anxiety and inspire leadership.
You can learn more about Power Posing from her video here.
Take Enthusiasm up a Notch
According to Brad Philips, author of “The Media Training Bible” we often perceive that our energy level is high, when it’s actually low – at least lower than others perceive it. He suggests adding about 20 percent more energy and enthusiasm to our voice which should feel just slightly higher to us. Practice it in the mirror – enthusiasm and passion for dental hygiene need to be visible.
Don’t Forget to Smile
If there’s ever a group of people that should know and believe in this it’s dental hygienists. Yet, even smile pros like hygienists get nervous and forget.
But remember, frowning, grimacing, glowering, and other negative facial expressions signal your brain that you’re doing something challenging. So your brain sends cortisol into your bloodstream, which raises your stress levels, making you appear less confident.
Force yourself to smile for a good hour before your interview and you’ll feel more in control and relaxed. As a side benefit, the person interviewing you will also feel less stress and more confident about you.
Check Your Angle
Make sure you shoulders are square and you are facing your interviewer. If more than one are interviewing you, you will want to adjust as you engage with each person but center yourself more on the person who seems to be in charge. Angling away from an interviewer gives off the impression you are less-open or even evasive.
Use Your Hands… A Little
Use your hands to talk but do so only to accentuate your discussion points not to dominate them.
Some people use their hands to drive points home and add strength to their points. But in a job interview setting, you only want to use your hands to dot the “i”s or cross the “t”s (figuratively) as you don’t want to appear as though you are trying to control the discussion or create a distraction away from what you have to say.
Eye contact is really important in job interviews, but there’s an art to it. Too much or too little can be unsettling for an interviewer. You really have to put yourself in the frame of mind you have when having a conversation with a friend, follow those instincts of casual conversational eye contact.
Help Shape the Interviewer’s Positioning
What do you do if your interviewer seems a little closed off? You know, arms crossed, head tilted forward? Those are signs of being a bit closed off or less engaged.
It’s important to gently pull them out of that and one technique is to use props. The idea is to do something that forces them to take a different position. It could be a handshake or maybe you could offer them your business card. Or yet another is to subtly gesture to something that causes them to shift or reposition.
For example: “I love the decor of your office,” as you gesture to a wall or piece of furniture. Or you could say something like, “From my resume, you’ll see that I have my local anesthesia license,” as you reposition your paper resume on the table in front of them.
Bonus Tip: The Strength of Silence
Nerves get the best of us and sometimes you may feel compelled to rush right into all of your responses to an interviewer’s questions. It’s okay, in fact it’s smart, to create a brief (2-3 second) thoughtful pause before you respond to some of the questions.
Now, don’t do this when they ask a basic question, like where you went to school. But it’s good to use this technique when you are answering questions that are more philosophical or opinion-based. It also gives your eyes a great break as you can look upward during your pause, away from the interviewer.