Body Language at Interviews…
So you’ve managed it! You’ve secured an interview. They want to meet you!
You’ve spent hours perfecting your CV, researching the company and preparing for the interview. But the reality is that you could potentially ruin it all as soon as you walk into the interview room through poor body language. Interviewers will be ready to take note of your every move and word from that very first minute that they set their eyes on you, they are forming an opinion. In a bid to help you make sure that opinion is a positive one, we have put together some basic Top Tips on Body Language at Interviews.
First Impressions Count
As soon as you enter the interview room, make sure that you walk in with your head up and have an open friendly manner. Smiling politely, looking the interviewer in the eye and offering your hand will help convey a positive impression of confidence from the off. It is also polite and of course courteous to wait until you have been told to sit down, as opposed to simply grabbing the first chair that you see. Manners count after all.
When you do shake hands with the interviewer, make sure that you have a firm handshake. Practice this in advance if really necessary. Many interviewers will form a lasting opinion on a candidate based entirely on the type of handshake they give. The key thing is to ensure that you convey a solid impression. There is nothing worse to an interviewer than a weak, limp handshake. Of course the reverse is also true – a death like grip will do you no favours!
It is important to achieve and maintain good eye contact with the interviewer for the duration of the interview. Moving your head every so often and glancing away occasionally will help to prevent you appearing as if you are holding a staring contest! Also, if there is a panel, make sure that although you may be responding to one interviewer, you are attentive and make eye contact with all those on the panel. When the interviewer is speaking, holding eye contact will show that you are engaged and actively listening.
Once seated, make sure you sit in an upright position, where you are sitting up straight without appearing too rigid. Be mindful not to sit on the edge of the chair as this will simply make you appear to be nervous. Also, no matter how the interview progresses and you start to “relax”, don’t make the mistake of slouching or leaning back in your chair as this will convey a much too casual attitude to the interviewer.
Hands That Talk
We all can be nervous in an interview. and with nerves of course can come some unfortunate habits that tend to distract more than anything. Things like fidgeting in the seat, playing with your hair, your tie, the buttons on your jacket, whatever. They all serve to convey the impression that you are somewhat on edge and therefore convey the wrong kind of impression altogether to the interviewer. Likewise, sitting with your arms crossed will immediately portray a defensive and negative attitude. Also, some of us are very expressive and can make dramatic gestures with our hands when we are talking, often without even being aware of it, which in an interview situation will completely detract from what we are actually saying. To prevent these things happening, it is best to try and consciously control your hand movements by perhaps sitting with your hands clasped together loosely. The fewer hand movements the better!
End on a Positive
Once the interview has drawn to a close, stand up, smile and shake hands again with the interviewer. Thank them for their time and no matter how keen you are to get out of there, leave the room slowly!