Interview Techniques – Body Language
Interviews are the method an employer meets the job seeker face to face to ask about relevant questions for the position, but maybe even more important it is a way for the employer to see your personal appearance, communication and presentation skills, and read your body language. An experienced interviewer – who has Human Resources experience will be able to read your body language and use that knowledge to either progress or reject you to the next stage of the interview stage.
Personal appearance is extremely important because as most people know, people will judge you on the way you look. For your interview, you must be dressed professional and look put together. You don’t want to distract your interviewer with your personal appearance so don’t over do it with makeup, perfume/cologne, accessories, clothing, etc. By having these types of distractions your interviewer will be focusing on those items instead of your answers and your personality.
Once you have a professional appearance put together, now you can focus on your body language and what does your body language say about you. In your interview, the first four to five minutes of your body language is extremely important as within that time a strong, positive impression can be formed or also a strong, negative impression can be created. By having a firm positive handshake you inspire a sense of strong confidence and create the tone of the interview as you being a strong, positive and confident applicant. On the other hand, a weak and limp handshake will undermine or affect an otherwise positive interview.
During your interview, your hands should either be placed loosely on your lap or put them on the armrest of your chair. When you use hand gestures during your conversations, the interviewer views you as confident and comfortable with the progress of the interview. It is important not to over exaggerate your hand gestures as that instead shows over excitement and projects apprehension or aggression.
Our body language is important because we not only speak with our words, we also speak with our facial expressions, tone of our speech, and eye contact. A steady, controlled, and clear voice that can be easily heard makes you come across as confident and positive to the interviewer compared to someone who speaks in a low voice, showing nervousness, or unsure about their speaking ability.
How to use your body language correctly:
- When seated, don’t fidget. If you feel uncomfortable, adjust your position slightly and sit up straight to maintain alertness.
- When faced with a difficult question, first breathe, stay calm, and avoid rushing to answer the question. Be mindful of your negative body language habits before answering. This is where it helps to practice answering interview questions before attending the real interview.
- Observe and mirror the interviewer’s gestures (but not over the top), by mirroring their gestures it signals togetherness and you will likely receive a more open response from the interviewer.
- Relax and breathe throughout the interview. You shouldn’t try to rush the interview, allow the interviewer set the speed and instil yourself in a calm and comfortable mind.
- Maintain eye contact with your interviewer, but avert your gaze from time to time to avoid staring.
- Remember to smile! Smiling creates positive emotional responses and re-affirms your enthusiasm and positive attitude.