Who doesn’t get anxious about job interviews? Trying to respond to the interviewers’ questions perfectly can be overwhelming. And sometimes, it’s not about what you say, but what you do that can seal the deal for you. We’re talking about communicating nonverbally and using your body language to showcase all your best traits during an interview.
It’s a no-brainer that appearance counts. And we’re not just talking about how you dress, but also how you present and carry yourself. You might be the perfect candidate on paper. But do you cross your arms too often and come across as defensive? Or have a restless leg syndrome that steals the spotlight from your answers?
Body language is crucial to landing your dream job. And we’re here to tell you how you can use it to get an extra edge during interviews:
Maintain Healthy Eye Contact
While it’s essential to make eye contact with the interviewer(s) during your interview, but don’t make the mistake of doing that constantly. Avoiding eye contact entirely makes you seem distant and untrustworthy. At the same time, overdoing it comes across as disconcerting and aggressive. The key is to maintain the right balance. Try to make eye contact when you’re listening and answering questions. However, take a break occasionally and allow your eyes to wander.
A better way to ensure that you seem interested is to look at different parts of a person’s face every 2 seconds. Switch between eyes, nose, and lips — so you’re not staring straight into the interviewer’s eyes at all times.
Use Your Hands
A lot of people don’t know what to do with their hands when they’re speaking. And if you happen to be one of them, don’t fret. Use this to your advantage. Hiding your hands under the table that often comes off looking awkward and can be misinterpreted as distrustful behaviour. Go ahead and gesture during the interview. Just make sure you don’t become overly enthusiastic and your hand motions start distracting from your words.
Show your palms to signal engagement and honesty. “It’s one of the reasons we shake hands, to show the open palm,” says Patti Wood, a body language expert. “It’s so tied to survival instincts, If we don’t see open palm gestures, it puts us on our guard.”
As a rule of thumb, upward-facing body language, such as open palms, straight posture, and a smile makes you look energetic.
Watch Your Posture
Your posture is a crucial part of your nonverbal conversation.
Keep your shoulders pulled back, chest high and back straight against the chair. Sit firmly without slouching to signal confidence and assurance. A lot of people are natural slouchers, in which case, Dr Lillian Glass, author of The Body Language Advantage recommends that you “pretend there’s a string pulling you up from the crown of your head”.
Make sure your feet are planted firmly on the ground. In fact, this actually has a scientific benefit, as opposed to crossing your knees or ankles. “It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult to answer highly complex questions unless both of your feet are on the ground,” says Wood. “It has to do with being able to go back and forth easily between the limbic reptilian brain to the neocortex brain.” So, a good posture ensures that you’re able to quickly alternate between creative and highly complicated, rational thought.
Work On Your Walk
How the interviewers perceive you and your attitude towards the hiring process has a lot to do with the first impression they make of you. And, yes, that starts with how you walk into the room and make your presence known. “Shoulders pulled back and neck elongated, each stride should be roughly one to two feet wide,” advises Tonya Reiman, body language expert and the author of The Body Language of Dating. “Walk directly toward the person you are meeting with everybody part pointing in his direction, maintaining eye contact with occasional breaks to the side.”
To make everything easier, make sure you don’t carry more than one item of belonging. Research has actually shown that when people carry more than one bag, purse, briefcase, folder. Or even a jacket, they come across as disorganized, and messy. If you have multiple items on you, check with the receptionist if she can take them off your hands. When you look sharper and put together, you’d be able to power-walk your way to success without saying a word.
Job interviews are often like notorious tightrope walks, where you have to display confidence without being arrogant; seem intelligent but not come across as an insufferable know-it-all who must have the final word. Finding the perfect balance is a crucial factor when it comes to making a long-lasting impact on the interviewer’s mind. We hope the above pointers are helpful in your next interview, and you focus on communicating nonverbally just as much.