When you sit down in a conference room for an interview, you’ve already given the interviewer a lot of information. In addition to the answers you give, your body language will also greatly inform the interviewer about the kind of person you are. It’s important to be aware of how you conduct yourself in an interview. The moment you step onto the property, you are under the microscope. How you act and carry yourself will be judged and taken into account. Before you step into the conference room, make sure you’re aware of the non-verbal cues mentioned below!
Eye Contact is one of the most important aspects of job interview body language, since it is so easily noticed. You will likely be speaking with the interviewer the entire time, which means holding eye contact. You don’t have to stare them down, but make sure you naturally hold their gaze when you’re talking to them. This shows confidence. Even if you are shy, looking down won’t do you any favors, and could hurt your chances. They may assume you are disinterested in them or the opportunity available, which isn’t something you want to convey.
Posture also plays a huge role in the impression you give during an interview. Slouching in your chair or getting too comfortable will make the interviewer assume you are lazy or overly casual. Sitting up straight shows confidence and interest. If you have options, try to pick a chair with a straight back as opposed to a more relaxed option. This will help you maintain good posture throughout the interview. Sit straight, but make sure you also are comfortable. How relaxed you are when sitting also directly can impact your stress level, so find a good balance.
Interviewing someone who doesn’t emote throughout the whole process would be uncomfortable and maybe even unnerving. While you may want to be professional, that doesn’t mean you can’t smile or laugh during the interview. The company is looking hire a person not a robot, so shutting down your emotions for the interview is a bad idea. If you’re nervous, take cues from the interviewer about how to act. People often give visual cues about when they expect laughter, or are looking for a more serious response. Body language works both ways, and you can use it to your advantage as well.
You will likely be doing a lot of the talking in the interview, but not all of it. There will be times when the interviewer will be explaining your responsibilities, the work environment, and the company’s mission. During these times it’s important that you are interested in the discussion being had. Nodding your head from time to time, and sometimes leaning in conveys that you are engaged listener, and actively paying attention. This should happen naturally if you are truly interested in the position, company, and opportunity.
There’s a reason people talk about ‘walking the walk’. The way you choose to get from place to place says a lot about your character. A quick, controlled stride implies that you are busy and driven, whereas a slow mosey implies the opposite. Neither of these assumptions could be true, but the fact remains that many people will still draw them. Walk with confidence, but don’t march around the place.
Do you have any nervous habits? If so, you’d be smart to avoid them in an interview. They will not only get on your interviewer’s nerves, but they also could disrupt the interview. It’s perfectly understandable to be nervous in the interview, but do your best to avoid the bad habits that may come with it. Some ones you may want to avoid:
- Foot Tapping
- Gum Chewing
- Hair Twirling
- Knuckle Cracking
- Nail Biting
Lastly, we’ll touch upon hand gestures. There are wide variety of types of hand gestures that may come through during conversation. However, when you’re in an interview, it’s important to keep these from being aggressive. Any harsh or overly quick motions can come off as aggressive and insistent. Friendly casual hand gestures are better suited for a job interview.
There are certainly many more types of body language that we could cover, but these basics should leave you in good shape for your next job interview. This way your actions in addition to your words will indicate that you are a confident, able, and prepared candidate for the position. Happy interviewing!