In 1971, Albert Mehrabian published a book Silent Messages, in which he discussed his research on non-verbal communication.
He concluded an individual’s credibility was established with much more than spoken words. In fact, he assigned 55% to the speaker’s body language, and another 38% to the tone of their voice.
Only 7% of their credibility was due to a person’s actual words.
Since 1971, Mehrabian’s statistics and research have been wildly quoted an referenced … and whether you agree or disagree … the basic premise holds a lot of truth.
When you are interacting with someone, no matter how on-point and exciting their words might be, if they look and/or sound bored … bored is all you will take away from the interaction.
However, have you ever considered this theory and logic on a broader level when it comes to job hunting?
Yes, you have nailed your CV and Cover Letter. The words and messaging were sound. But beyond the things you wrote, what non-verbals are you also sending to the person receiving your application?
When you are being assessed for a job or putting yourself out there, your entire persona becomes watched. Hiring managers are not just interested in hearing you tell them how much you love their organisation … they will look for cues to see that it is genuine.
Considering what the following ‘non-verbals’ might look like:
- You’re the person who follows my social channels and engages with the content
- You’re the person who subscribes to my eNews list
- You’re the person who takes the time to read our blog posts
- You’re the person who registers and comes to events we are running
- You’re the person who looked me up on LinkedIn before our interview
- You’re the person who takes the time to go to the on-campus recruitment sessions and gets to know the recruiters (even though all the info is online anyway)
- You’re the person in the interview that offered to put the rubbish in the bin or take your coffee cup to the sink
And conversely …
- You’re the person who unsubscribes from my eNews list prior to engaging with me (yep we get notifications for that too)
- You’re the person who is consistently an event no-show (despite having registered)
- You’re the person who only pops up when they want to ask you for a job
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking you are just one in a million … just ‘another graduate’. Perhaps you are one of 1000’s of applicants for that coveted grad scheme you have always wanted to get into.
The words you write and the things you say absolutely matter. But there are so many non-verbal actions which will help you stand out and get noticed … remember to give them the weight they are worth.
Disclaimer: There are many HR Managers and recruiters that don’t look at all the above … so don’t take it as blanket. But there will be many other businesses who do have full visibility of all your non-verbals … and you never know which one you are going to be dealing with!