Preparing for a job interview: It’s not always what you say, but what you do

A majority of students hope to land the job of their dreams when they graduate college, but the interview process can be nerve-wracking and stressful. While most people believe how they answer questions is the deciding factor on whether they get the job or not, other elements like being prepared and punctual for an interview are important.

Although the content of your responses still holds value, non-verbal communication can have a powerful impact on how others view you. Non-verbal communication provides 93 percent of meaning in a face-to-face conversation, according to Linda Sowers, professor in the College of Agriculture Food and Natural Resources.

She stresses the importance of non-verbal communication and body language in her agricultural sales class.

“The moment you walk into the interview room you are being evaluated,” Sowers said.

According to Sowers, factors that contribute to non-verbal communication or body language include posture, shaking hands, eye contact and facial expression.


The simple stance of your body can have a tremendous influence on how you interview. Lean slightly forward in your chair and engage in the conversation; this portrays a pleasant yet confident demeanor.


A handshake is the first contact you will have with the interviewer, and you never get a second chance at a first impression. Meet your interviewer by extending your hand with your thumb up and fingers out. A firm shake from the elbow with two smooth pumps makes you seem self-confident.

Eye Contact and Facial Expression

Maintain direct eye contact with your interviewer for three to five seconds. This will convey confidence and exhibit honesty as well as help you avoid feeling uncomfortable. Looking down or away frequently sends a message that you are unsure or nervous. Smiling is also an important way to show that you are friendly and enthusiastic about the position.

Having confidence is key to a successful interview. Employers are looking for employees that are capable of being effective at the job, motivated and equipped with a positive attitude. Sometimes the unspoken cues that you convey can be as important as what you say.

Rachel Dotson

About the Author Rachel Dotson

Hello! My name is Rachel Dotson, and I am majoring in science and agricultural journalism, while also obtaining a minor in both animal science and agricultural economics. My roots are stitched to a town that has acquired the reputation of being the “Disneyland of Quilting” other wise known as Hamilton, Missouri. Currently I am interning with the Missouri Pork Association, and am enjoying being a part of providing the pork industry with a voice. Also, this summer I will be serving as the marketing and communications intern with the National Swine Industry. I could not be more excited to be a member of the CAFNR Corner Post staff again this semester!