It’s an accepted fact that job interviews can be a nerve-racking experience but most people spend much more time worrying about how they will answer questions correctly and not much time thinking about what their body language will say about them.
According to careerbuilder.com, it can be difficult to be aware of your non-verbal cues when you are feeling nervous, so here are a few tips.
Before you even walk into the room it should be a given that you have done all your research on the company and the role you are interviewing for. You will have practised what you will say to some of the most common interview questions and chosen the right outfit to wear (see out previous blogs). So you should feel ready. Some hiring managers say they can pretty much spot a possible candidate based on the first 30 seconds of the interview and while a lot of that has to do with the way you look, it’s also in your body language.
Make sure you have adjusted your tie or your tights before you enter the interview room. Grasp the interviewers hand firmly and make eye contact as you say ‘hello’ with a smile. Once you are seated make sure you pay attention to what you are doing with your hands. Try to keep your hands in your lap. You can use them to gesture occasionally when you want to make a point but do not drum your fingers, wave your arms around or use them to scratch any part of your anatomy, touch your face or fiddle with your hair.
Do sit up straight and lean slightly forward so that you look interested and engaged. Don’t rock about in your chair, slouch or lean towards the door as this can look as if you are desperate to make an escape, uninterested or just too relaxed and casual. You can nod to show you agree with a comment and smile or laugh when the interviewer does rather than staring blankly back at him or her but otherwise keep gestures and facial expressions to a minimum.
Mirroring is a technique often used by people in interviews these days. Remember people hire those they like and mirroring is about observing the other person’s body language, which may include posture, hand gestures, facial expressions, tone, volume and rate of speech and matching it to your body language to make both parties feel at ease. Mirroring is the non-verbal way of saying ‘look at me, I am the same as you, I feel the same way and share the same attitudes.’ Of course it needs to appear sincere and not forced or unnatural and it takes a bit of practice to get it right, especially to understand the difference between positive and negative signals from the interviewer as you definitely don’t want to mirror the negative ones!
After a few well thought out questions from yourself at the end of the interview it is time to say goodbye and leave. Make sure your goodbye handshake is just as confident as it was going in and maintain a well presented, calm and respectful front until you are well away from the building – you don’t want to jump into the air expressing your exuberance at an interview that you feel went well or start chattering on your mobile to a friend and at the last minute possibly ruin the great impression you made.