Landing the interview and getting in the door is step one towards getting the job of your dreams, but once you are in the interview, make sure that you are not losing it before you get started. Here are 10 body language tips that you need to be aware of for a successful interview.
What you ‘say’ with your body language, is just as important as what you actually speak about during an interview. While you are interviewing for your dream job, your interviewer is analyzing everything about you and determining if you will be a good fit. Sounds judgy? Yes, but it’s true- they are looking and listening to everything you say and do.
You may “say” that you are confident that you can handle the workload, but your body language may “say” differently with your raised shoulders and clenched hands. You may “say” that you can handle stress and a fast paced environment, but your body language may “say” differently with your slouched posture and leaned back approach in your chair. Even if your answers to questions are absolutely spot-on, you may have already lost the interview due to your body language. Read: 8 Things to Never Say in an Interview
You may be thinking, well what do I need to do? These 10 body language tips for a successful interview will help you become more conscious of the impression that you are giving both physically and verbally.
10 Body Language Tips for a Successful Interview
- Walk with confidence- keep your head up high, look straight forward, wear sensible shoes that you can actually walk in and not wobble.
- Initiate the handshake- go in with your hand extended first. Shake firmly, but not too strong and look the interviewer in the eye and say “good morning or good afternoon”. Make sure that you shake hands with all interviewers if there are more than one. Even if you already know the interviewer, make sure you follow this same protocol.
- Smile- smiling is contagious. Start with a smile, it will show your confidence (even if you are dying inside) and will open up the interview with the prospective of positivity.
- Avoid crossing your legs- crossing your legs gives your audience the feeling of ‘closed off’- it looks like you are putting up a physical barrier. If you need to cross your legs, cross at your ankles and push your legs to the side.
- Sit up straight- don’t slouch! You may have to focus on doing this. Make sure that you are sitting up straight, shoulders down and slightly lean forward- this makes your look like you are engaged in the conversation and will encourage the interviewing team to also lean forward in response.
- Don’t play with your hair or fidget. During an interview, touch your hair or face only if you need to! Clearly, you don’t want to speak with your hair in your face, so tuck it behind your ear and touch it as little as possible. Also, be mindful of playing with clothing such as sleeves or scratching your body during the interview. When you fidget, you are portraying that you are not focused or confident in the conversation- something that will put doubt in the minds of your audience that you are not able to be professional.
- Don’t stare- be purposeful with your focus, don’t stare at objects around the office or things behind the interviewers head. This will make you seem unfocused and the avoidance or too much eye-contact, can make people feel uncomfortable.
- Use gestures to emphasize a story- be mindful of talking with your hands too much, but sitting without any motion will make you seem unapproachable and closed off.
- Breathe deeply and speak on the exhale- this is something that you have to practice and focus on before you go in to the interview. When you are nervous, your diaphragm can tense up causing you to sound breathless when you speak. Take your time breathing and just slow down when you speak. You interviewer will hear the difference in your voice tone when you are speaking on the exhale vs holding your breath while you speak.
- Nod your head while listening- this shows that you are actively engaged in the conversation and provides acknowledgment to the speaker that you are understanding what they are saying. Don’t over-nod but do just enough to show that you are listening.
By following these easy body language tips above, you are now aware of how important it is to make sure that your body language and your verbal responses align. As the saying goes, first impression is the lasting impression- you have to make sure that you know everything you need before going into your interview.
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