There you are, waiting to walk into the HR office for the job interviewing process. Minutes before the interview, you’re mentally reviewing the anticipated questions and the answers you have prepared. But is that all there is to it?

While the advisory literature abounds in articles highlighting the importance of knowing what to say, it would be unwise to focus all your attention on the content of your discourse, to the detriment of its form. Some people might even say that the manner in which you say something is at least of the same importance as the content of your message.

But can the nonverbal component of the dialogue weigh so much? For a quick answer to this question, just consider silent movies, ballet and pantomime. All these forms of art or entertainment rely on conveying a message solely through the use of gestures and mimicry. Since the audience cannot consist exclusively of connoisseurs, it is obvious that it doesn’t take an expert to interpret nonverbal language.

It should now be clear why you should concentrate on your nonverbal cues when preparing for an interview. A bit of rehearsing might be a good idea. For instance, plan beforehand what to do with your hands. Think of how you’ll be sitting, practice smiling a little. Don’t overdo it though: too much rehearsing can make you look artificial or tense.

Of course, practice makes perfect, but you probably won’t start going to interview after interview just for the sake of experience. You might, however, want to go for the next best way to practice: casual everyday interactions. Have short conversations with the people you meet on the train, for instance, and notice how they respond to your gestures. In time, you will learn to identify and employ the most suitable set of nonverbal cues for each situation and to seamlessly adjust your gestures and facial expressions based on your interlocutor’s reactions.

But it's all about being prepared to respond in the best way to what the interviewer says and does; you should also be ready to present a portfolio to your potential employer. Such a record of your activity and achievements adds a concrete dimension to the interview: instead of relying solely on words to prove your suitability for the job, you’ll have some powerful evidence to support what you say.

There are domains where the interviewee is expected to be able to show a portfolio. If you are after a job in architecture, journalism, arts or other such fields, a portfolio will enable your interviewer to better anticipate your future performance and map that forecast against the company’s expectations. Make sure the material is ordered in such a way that both you and the interviewer can easily find the relevant ones at any point during the interview. Even the way you organize it can tell a lot about your personality.

Very often, people make the mistake of bringing too much material with them. It is true that your portfolio should be as complete as possible, but collection should not override selection. Choose those samples of your work that best highlight your activity. It is ultimately the relevance of the material that matters the most, not the size of the portfolio when job interviewing.

You should also have some extra resumés with you. You never know what other opportunities the job interview could open. The interviewer might conclude that your skills can be useful for other departments as well, and suggest that you leave some resumés there too.

The bottom line is you should be prepared for both the specific position you have applied for and any other jobs for which you might be deemed suitable. Bringing your portfolio and a few copies of your resumé to the job interview can prove to be a very smart decision.

So remember, it's not just what you say at an interview that determines how successful your interview is; when job interviewing, your ability to read nonverbal cues as well as the written documentation you provide your potential employer hold a large amount of weight and could make or break an interview.

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