Got an interview? Have you thought about your body language?
There’s a lot to think about when preparing for an interview – from what you’ll say to what you’ll wear. But don’t forget to spend some time working on your body language too.
When preparing for a job interview, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about what you’re going to say. How are you going to answer the tricky question of what your biggest flaw is? What is the most tactful way to explain why you’re leaving your current job?
You’ll probably also spend a good bit of time picking out the perfect interview ensemble. Something that makes you look professional, but that also reflects your personality and makes you look the part for the role in question.
But something you might not spend a huge amount of time thinking about – and practicing – is your body language.
That’s a big mistake a lot of people make when preparing for an interview, according to many experts. After all, your body language says so much about you – from how confident you are to how you deal with stressful situations.
Your body language is also one of the first things an interviewer is likely to notice about you. Before you even say hello, you’ll have already told them so much about yourself with how you sit in the waiting room and walk across the room.
So, how do you improve your body language for an interview? Here are some things to pay attention to:
· Make eye contact – Making good eye contact demonstrates that you’re paying attention and interested in what’s going on. Aim to hold eye contact for a few seconds at a time, and if there is more than one interviewer, be sure to make eye contact with everyone.
· Sit up straight – Slouching or sitting hunched forward can make you look relaxed and could also convey a sense of boredom or disinterest. Try to sit up straight and lean forwards slightly when you’re asked a question, as this will show your engagement.
· Be still – If you have any nervous habits like tapping your fingers on the desk or bouncing your leg up and down, be aware of these and try avoid them. Not only do these make your nervousness obvious, they can also be distracting.
· Think about your hands – Using hand gestures as you speak is fine, but just be aware of what your hands are doing. For example, touching fingertips together can suggest authority, while keeping your palms facing up is a sign of openness and honesty. Avoid clenching your fists or waving your hands around, as it can make you seem nervous or unpredictable. Also, don’t touch your face or hair as you talk – as this could be seen as a sign of dishonesty.
· Smile! – Positive movements like smiling and nodding show that you’re interested and help to show your personality. Just because you’re trying to be professional doesn’t mean you have to have a grim, serious expression all the time.
· Mirror your interviewer – This can be tricky to get right, but it can also be very effective – especially when it’s things like nods, smiles and shifts in posture. Just remember to not overdo it, or you might come off as creepy.
Remember that getting your body language right is a skill that takes time to hone. Of course, try to practice it before the interview, but don’t then let everything you’ve learned slide. Turn your good body language into something you do every day and it will help you not just during interviews, but with other aspects of your life too.