Beyond the words you say, you are communicating lots more than you think in your dental hygiene job interviews. So, exactly what are you saying?
This week let’s review some tips that will help you land a job without a word.
Remember that thing Leo DiCaprio did in Titanic, posing Kate Winslet with outstretched arms at the bow of the ship? There’s actually something gained by doing a similar exercise before you head into an interview (but probably want to make sure no one is watching). According to body language expert Amy Cuddy, “making yourself big” physically changes your brain to increase courage, reduce anxiety, and inspire leadership.
You can learn more about Power Posing from her video here.
Bring the Enthusiasm Up
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 see 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 apparent in your job interviews.
Okay – I know it’s obvious. But even professional smile advocates (dental hygienists) can sometimes forget in the middle of a job interview. So just be aware of that and remember that a smile is a very powerful tool for making a positive impression.
Frowning, grimacing, glowering, and other negative facial expressions tell your brain that you’re doing something hard. So your brain sends cortisol into your bloodstream, which raises your stress levels, which obviously can compound stress.
Force a smile for a good hour before your job 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.
Square Things Up
Square your shoulders and face the interviewer. If you have more than one interviewer, adjust as you engage with each person, but center more on the person who seems to be the key decision-maker. Angling away from an interviewer gives off the impression you are less-open or even evasive.
Some Gestures are Good
Use your hands to talk, but do so only to accentuate your discussion points not to dominate them. An interviewer shouldn’t be distracted from what you say by your gestures.
In speeches and presentations, some use their hands to drive points home and add strength to their words. 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 freaks people out. 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 and you’ll come across genuine and easy to talk with.
Help Shape the Interviewer’s Positioning
What do you do if your interviewer seems a little closed off – as in arms crossed, head tilted forward? Those are signs of being a bit disengaged.
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 at least look in a different direction.
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 re-position 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 or to tell more about yourself. But it’s good to use this technique when you are answering questions that are more philosophical or opinion-based – such as “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” It also gives your eyes a great break as you can look slightly upward during your pause, away from the interviewer.
There are so many little things to be aware of and prepare for in a dental hygiene job interview, but with practice and careful consideration, you can ensure your non-verbal conversation is as rich as what you have to say.