So, you’ve landed an interview for a job you really want. Naturally, you want to come across as confident, capable and friendly, so you study the company and think of answers to as many questions as possible. While these are important parts of any interview, there is one other element that you don’t want to miss; your body language.
Don’t let bad body language stop you from getting the job. Here are the top five issues you should be aware of before walking into that room…
A hand-shake is often the very first contact you have with the interviewer, which means it can leave a lasting impression. It goes without saying that you want your first impression to be confident and comfortable, and there are two important ways to ensure this happens.
Firstly, make sure your hands aren’t sweaty from those pre-interview nerves. Get to the interview 10-15 minutes early so you can have a quiet moment to yourself in the waiting room. This will allow you to calm down and, hopefully, ensure clammy hands won’t be a problem.
The second element is keeping your handshake firm and confident. Look the interviewer in the eye and smile while shaking their hand twice or three times at most. With these basics down-pat, you should be off to a great start.
Bad posture can give the impression of laziness, indifference and insecurity – three things you do not want to communicate during an interview. Make sure you’re sitting with your back straight, hands placed casually in your lap and with your legs crossed or together in front of you. These good postural habits will ensure you come across as professional and respectful, rather than rude and uncaring.
- Showing your nerves
We all get nervous in interviews, and most interviewers expect this from their candidates. However, it’s important to communicate your insecurities and unease as little as possible. When we’re feeling this way, we tend to reflect it in our body language, with actions like crossing our arms in front of us or covering our mouths as we speak.
Even if you’re perfect for the job, this lack of confidence can seriously impact the way your interviewer perceives you and your capabilities. Instead, you should place your hands casually in your lap or on the arms of your chair in order to communicate a relaxed yet professional tone.
- Eye contact
Interviews are often nerve-wracking and intimidating – and when these two feelings come together, it can be difficult to look the interviewer in the eye. However, while it might make you feel more comfortable, we can assure you that it does the opposite to the person you’re speaking to.
Making little or no eye-contact doesn’t just tell them that you’re nervous and uncomfortable, but it can come across as downright rude. Try your best to look the interviewer in the eye when communicating with them, as this will show that you’re confident and won’t back away from a challenge. Plus, when you make eye-contact, it’s easier to read how the interviewer is reacting to your answers, which can give you a boost of confidence.
Are you a habitual fidgeter? It’s important not to take this bad habit into the interview with you. Fidgeting and other restless behaviours such as touching your face, playing with the hem of your clothing and tapping on the armchair all point to a lack of confidence. Not only does it look bad, but it can mentally take the focus away from what you’re saying or the questions you’re being asked.
If you feel the need to fidget, try using your hands to communicate your words. Using gestures and movements to emphasise or explain your answers will release that pent-up energy without coming across as distracting or unsettled.