Body Language in an Interview
What is your body language saying about you in an interview?
As if you don’t have enough to think about in an interview already, right?
You’ve got this. You are qualified, you have a professionally crafted resume, you’ve make a good first impression to get you the interview. Nobody can sell you better than you can.
Before your next interview take a moment to read the following list of body language tips so you can bring your best A game to the table. You don’t want that slouch and give the wrong idea, right?
Your mother was right all along when she poked you to “sit up straight!”
For some of us, it is hard to maintain good posture for a long period of time, like more than 10 minutes. To maintain good posture, sit up straight and imagine your head is a balloon with a string attached to your neck and it is trying to float straight up to the ceiling.
You can say a lot with your eyes, just watch a romantic comedy. The same goes with an interview, but for an entirely different reason. Eye contact should be direct and engaging without being creepy. Starting with the initial handshake, make direct eye contact and hold it for one beat longer than you normally would. Answer questions while looking directly at the interviewer. Shifty eyes or looking up when asked questions will make you appear to by untruthful or at the very least unsure of yourself.
Minimal hand gestures are alright but there are some that will subtly (or not) send an aggressive vibe. Avoid pointing at the interviewer for any reason. Also avoid a chopping motion with your hand or slapping it down on the desk or table. Think of it this way, do not create any motion between you and the interviewer that would disturb the space between the two of you.
Crossing Your Arms
Even if it is more comfortable to stand or sit with your arms crossed, don’t do it. This body language gives you a closed off appearance. Instead, sit with your hands relaxed in your lap or resting on the arms of the chair. If you are standing, let your arms hang casually at your sides.
Interviews make us eager to make a good impression, but you don’t want to seem too eager. One such way to convey this is excessive nodding of your head. Do some deep breathing before your interview and find your inner stillness. Stillness can be very powerful, but again, creepy if it is corpse-like.
Another part of your “inner stillness” is to avoid fidgeting. Tapping your fingers or feet, clicking your pen, obsessively tucking your hair behind your ear, etc. We all have thing we do when we are nervous to alleviate that extra energy. If you are aware that you fidget, you can also be conscious of avoiding it. Fidgeting will distract the interviewer away from what you are saying and focus them instead on what you are doing. So, stop jingling the change in your pocket!
Dead eyes–another creepy thing to avoid in an interview. Employers want to see your passion and get to know your personality better. If you are asked a question about something that excites you, let it show. Be alive, not a wax museum statue.
Practice Makes Perfect
To ensure your body language is conveying that you are relaxed, confident, trustworthy and a great choice, practice with a friend or family member. Have them read this article so they know what to watch out for. Good luck, you’ve got this!
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