You may well-spoken, highly confident, and have a perfect resume. However, committing body language mistakes can cost you the job.
The handshake is the first step taken when entering an interview. Although it lasts just a few seconds, it gives the interviewer a sense of your character based on your handshake’s firmness as well as eye contact. A weak handshake paired with lack of eye contact portrays you as being nervous. A firm handshake with good eye contact expresses confidence and professionalism. An overpowering handshake on the other hand can stamp you as an arrogant and manipulative person. It is therefore important to start the interview positively by giving a proper handshake.
To make a positive impression with your body language, reflect on and adopt the following:
Your posture is an indicator of your level of confidence and interestedness in the conversation. Slumping can be taken to imply lack of interest and confidence. Sitting stiffly without any body movements is an indicator of nervousness. It also makes it difficult for the interviewer to build a rapport with you. Sitting at the tip of the chair shows that you would rather be somewhere else.
Leaning back in your chair gives the impression of you being overly relaxed and unprofessional. Crossing your arms and legs projects you as having created a barrier between yourself and the interviewer.
To exude confidence, engagement and professionalism, sit on the chair with your lower back touching the back panel, and lean forward at an angle of ten degrees. Place your hands on the arms of the chair or on the desk. Use them to gesture from time to time to help you look more expressive. Plant both feet onto the ground to maintain stability.
Good eye contact
Eye contact is a connection tool. It helps you connect with the interviewer beyond words. However, there is a thin line between good and bad eye contact. When you continuously stare at the interviewer without taking short breaks, you can make him or her feel uncomfortable. This will make even a casual conversation seem to be a lecture.
Whether you are speaking or listening, you should maintain eye contact with the interviewer for a period of time not exceeding ten seconds then quickly glance away before restoring eye contact. If you are being interviewed by more than one person, look mostly at the person asking you the question, but occasionally glance aside at the other interviewers. They will be impressed by you trying to involve them in the conversation.
The speed, tone and pitch of your voice create an impression. A speaking rate that is too slow can make you come off as lacking confidence. On the contrary, a speaking rate that is too fast can make you hard to understand and also portray you as being nervous. Speaking in a monotonous tone and pitch makes it difficult for interviewer to stay engaged.
It is important for you to control your voice. Vary your tone and pitch to create engagement and to emphasize important points.
Excessive nodding during an interview can be interpreted as you wanting to please by all means thus agreeing with everything being said. It can consequently make you lose credibility.
You should have control over your nodding. Simply nod once or twice when you agree with something and pair it with a smile of agreement then stop. You can also show how much you are engaged by tilting your head to the side as if trying to listen more attentively.
Fidgeting is distracting. Although it may happen unconsciously, it may be perceived as you being bored, dishonest and not focused.
During the interview, you should always try to be conscious of the movement of your hands, legs and feet so as to avoid fidgeting.
You should master your body language to avoid being misinterpreted by the interviewer. You can practice in front of a mirror or set up a mock interview and video record the whole session. Review the video recording to identify areas you need to work on before the interview. The more aware you are of your body language, the more you can improve your interview skills.
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