12 Strategies to incorporate into your interview body language
Preparing for a job interview takes time, preparation, and practice. Most of us prepare with answers to the typical interview questions and do research on the company. We practice breathing methods to control our nerves. However, the majority of the message you communicate will be conveyed through your body language and not by your words. (55%, says UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages) We are aware of what we say, but unaware of the message being conveyed through non-verbal gestures.
When you think about it…what is the first thing we notice when we meet someone new? Usually it is their dress, their confidence, their shoes, the way they walk, and even how they shake hands. We notice people’s body language first and make assumptions about them based on their mannerisms and dress. Be it superficial or right or wrong, we make the assumption and we assign the personality type. First impressions have been made!
Assumptions have a direct impact on your life, and during an interview it is extremely important to your success. Effective body language supports the message and projects a strong image to your audience. How do you want to be perceived? What messages do I send? Do I smile enough? Do I sit straight in my chair? Are my mannerisms calm and slow?
A successful and effective interview depends on communication and communication depends on body language. Body language is very subtle! It takes great effort and energy to present yourself successfully in an interview. Be aware of your body language…understand what gestures you want to change…change the gestures to reflect the message you want to convey.
1. Sit Straight:
Don’t cross your legs and arms. Take up the space in the chair to show your are comfortable and confident with complete openness. Build credibility immediately with your position in the chair. Good posture is good for business and your back.
2. Eye contact:
No staring! Too much eye contact can be weird and awkward…no eye contact indicates an insecurity or that you have something to hide. A confident person holds eye contact.
Once in a while during the interview provide a few nods to show your interest and that you are hearing the message from the interviewer.
4. Facial Expressions:
The movement of your eyes, mouth and facial muscles can help you connect with the interviewer. The face expresses the passion and the eyes connect with the interviewer.
5. Lean forward:
Not too much…but enough to show confidence in yourself and what you are saying. When sharing a message…a lean forward provides that connection to the story.
At appropriate moments during the interview and at the introduction and exit. Don’t have a poker face. A smile wins favor and places everyone at ease. Smile is happy!
7. Don’t touch your hair & face:
This shows nervousness and can be distracting for the interviewer. This habit goes unnoticed by the individual…but is very obvious to the interviewer. This one habit alone is enough to question your credibility with your interviewer.
8. Slow your Speech:
Show you are calm and relaxed. Slowing down your message will help you focus on the content. Slowing down will keep you from blabbering without a purpose.
9. Use hand gestures with confidence:
Waving your hands can be distracting. Wild hand gestures imply the individual is nervous, disorganized and unprepared. Your message will be more effective when your gestures reflect the personal attachment. The scale of the gesture must reflect the size of the room…in a bigger room you can use a larger gesture.
10. Follow the lead of the interviewer:
Mirror the gestures of the interviewer to show that you are in-sync with them. This can show a connection that could be key for your success if used properly. It can show that you know how to read people to get results.
11. Positive Attitude:
No frowning or pursed lips! Smile at appropriate times and remain attentive during the appointment.
12. Strong & Solid Handshake:
Begin and end the interview with a competent handshake and thank you.