Job interviews are like tightrope walks. You struggle to find a perfect balance between looking confident, but not over smart, intelligent but not “Mr. Know-it-All”! Over the years, more attention has been given to the role of verbal communication in job interviews; however, do you know how non-verbal communication (body language) can help you a great deal in making or breaking your job interview?
Career experts have analyzed body movements as a vital way to determine a person’s personality and how these can be used to communicate in the interview process. To determine what kind of movements are vital for interviews, here are some handy tips to ensure that you use a right body language.
Use them to make a good impression on the interviewer- (1) at the time of introduction, (2) during the interview, and (3) at the time of leaving.
1. At the time of Introducing Yourself
The first few seconds of your meeting with the interviewer play a crucial role in impressing him/her. How you walk, stand, sit and move your hands and head speak a thousand words about you.
– When You Enter and Walk
How you walk into the room is an important part. Walk straight and keep shoulders pulled back and neck elongated. Maintain the eye contact with the people in the room, and don’t forget to keep a pleasing smile on your face. Your posture reflects your personality and confidence level. Standing straight presents a confident and an authoritative personality, while slouching is a sign that you are passive, scared or flippant.
– When You Offer a Handshake
The first thing to do when entering the interview room is greeting and offering a handshake. The way you do signals a lot about your personality. The right way to do this is offering your right hand and giving a firm handshake. A “death grip” presents low confidence or nervousness. Moreover, avoid covering the person’s hand with your other hand, as it indicates dominance.
– When You Sit
Sitting firmly and leaning your back straight signals confidence. Avoid slouching or lounging with your legs and arms everywhere as it makes you look a bit too relaxed. Keep your posture straight with hands placed either on the table or on your lap, while feet kept firmly on the ground. Sitting like this helps you to stay relaxed and allows you to think and answer the interview questions calmly. Avoid crossing your arms and shaking your legs.
– When You Make an Eye Contact
An effective way to look engaged and interested during the interview is by maintaining an eye contact with the interviewer. Avoid direct eye contact and address all the people in the room by rotating your gaze from one person to another. The right way is to address the person who raised a question, and then maintain eye contact with other interviewers for a few seconds before addressing the first interviewer again. This is the best way to show that you are confident, attentive and engage with everyone. However, maintaining eye contact should never be confused with staring blankly or gazing at your interviewer.
2. During the Interview Process
– Use Hand Gestures
Hand gestures play a vital role in body language. Keeping them hidden under the table indicates anxiety and nervousness, while excessive hand movement is also not appreciated. So, the best way to play safe with your hands is to keep them on your lap when not using and moving them slightly in a natural way while speaking. Avoid wrong gestures such as waving hands too high in front of the interviewer, pointing fingers, or clenching fists as these convey arrogance, over-confidence and appear distracting. Keeping palms up indicate honesty.
– Breathe Deeply
Don’t let your nervousness evident in front of the interviewer. To control it, breathe deeply. It helps you to relax, reduce your stress level and heart rate. Stay calm and answer your questions smartly and confidently.
– Nod Your Head
Apart from maintaining a right posture and eye contact, nodding head while listening to a person indicates attentiveness. However, it doesn’t mean that you start shaking your head constantly! It is required at the appropriate time to show that you agree to a particular point while communicating. Leaning slightly forward shows your attention and interest in the conversation.
– Don’t Forget to Smile
A smile can say it all. Interviewees often get nervous reflecting it badly on their face. Smiling conveys that you are relaxed, friendly, confident and a warm person. Moreover, it helps you to stay calm and answer the questions. However, one should know when to smile, as excessive smiling might send the wrong message!
3. At the time of Departing
When asked to leave at the end of the interview, say “Thank You” and leave your seat gently. Gather your belongings and shake hands with the interviewer. Keep a pleasant smile on your face.
Remember, your body language will communicate throughout the interview process. Hence, working on these tips will allow you to present yourself as the perfect job candidate.
You May Also Like to Read: Body Language at Workplace
Some other body language tips for job seekers:
– Don’t make movements and expressions that reveal your stress (squeezing fingers, shaking legs, biting lips, etc.)
– Don’t turn your eyes downward when answering a question as it makes you look insecure or less confident about what you are saying
– Avoid hand movements that convey defensiveness and arrogance
– Offer neither too strong nor too weak handshake
– Avoid body language gaffe like playing with hair