The Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence: Tips from an Ex-FBI Agent

By Tanya, Wall Street Services Reporter

Now that the winter storms are over, and unemployment finally dropped below that 9% level, prospects for jobhunters may be slightly improving. While external forces are finally leaning towards favorable, now would be an ideal time to check the internal constructs of your workplace behavior that can make or break the interview.

Bestseller Louder Than Words: Take Your Career from Average to Exceptional with the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence tells go-getters on the hunt that attitude is more important than anything else. So first and foremost do an attitude  check and go in to the interview with the right attitude.

Author Joe Navarro was one of the youngest recruits in the history of the FBI. He draws on his career of over 25 years of counterintelligence and counterterrorism work to consult the corporate world.

Here are Navarro’s latest tips in nabbing a top position in today’s competitive labor market:

In the worst economy in 60 years a lot of businesses are saying we now have the opportunity to get rid of people who don’t fit in, who  are toxic, who are socially inept, who have a bad attitude, and hire people who meet our standards. Show interest and kindness towards everyone. Good manners are a nonverbal that says other people are important to me and so are the rules of society. Companies such as Zappos are talking to their low-level employees (bus drivers,  janitors, receptionists) and asking them how they were treated by visiting job applicants. They are actually basing hiring decisions on this!

How you look still matters, especially grooming. While many offices have adopted casual dress codes, many people fear of being overdressed for the interview. A suit to an interview is still essential – meet the expectations and mindset of the organization you hope to work for. Especially in finance, you will still see very conservative attire and no tattoos (please).

Demonstrate to others that you care by your movement to action. Whether it is opening a door, helping to carry a package, offering  to make a phone call, or picking up a piece of paper that has fallen, even in the interview process; it shows you have observation skills, willingness to be cooperative, and that you care. Directors of human resources tell me of intentionally letting something drop on the floor and if the applicant allows it to just lay there, they can expect the same in the future from their reluctance to take action (it shows “it’s not my problem” mentality).

Prepare for what you will say and by that I mean, prepare and  rehearse. Some people spend less than 3 minutes preparing for the next interview and are shocked, shocked when it doesn’t go well or their performance (and it is a performance!) is less than perfect. Like anything else, rehearse if it is important to you. Answer out loud every question that may be asked and be prepared to answer, not stammer, hesitate, and cough your way through it. Rehearse with a friend for at least a couple of hours and watch how you present. Don’t slouch, don’t fidget, watch those hands and what they do.

Be interesting and engaging in the interview, these are the people you will work with, make them want to work with you. Read up on current events…and not just the Kardashians.

Know what you want to contribute to the organization, not what the organization can do for you. Those days are over. Business wants to know what you bring to the table that 3,000 others don’t. Be prepared to answer that.

Make sure you know terms of art that are unique to the industry you seek. If they say “price points” don’t say “dollars,” if they say “due diligence” don’t say “investigate,” and so forth. You want to demonstrate that you can fit in immediately and that you have social  intelligence which allows you to mirror others quickly.

As I said in my book, attitude compensates for being short, too tall, not beautiful, any number of things. Master a great  attitude and people will seek you out. Remember this: companies often hire for skill but fire for attitude. Skill they can get anywhere, attitude is hard to come by. That is what you should champion.

Read Louder Than Words to learn how to read body language to understand what clients, coworkers, interviewers, or interviewees are thinking, feeling, or intending. From there you can strategize your workplace attitude and strategies to rock your career.

Follow Joe Navarro on Twitter @navarrotells
Browse his other books on Amazon.