Body Language Basics: Body Language For Interviews

Body Language Basics: Body Language For Interviews
This post is part of the “Body Language Basics Series” where I take a look at basic body language techniques, how to be open with people, how to spot a liar and more. You can view the introduction and see links to all posts in this series here.

Now that we’ve covered the majority of the basics of body language techniques we can put them all together to use in a situation we will all have to face at some point in our lives: The dreaded interview.

Whether it’s an interview for a new job, college position or with your bank manager we can use the techniques learned in our previous posts to make a great first impression, put the other person at ease, get our point across and achieve a win/win solution. So, here’s how to use your body language to come across well in an interview.

Make A Great First Impression

  1. Handshake: Make sure you get your handshake right – firm, not too long and please, please, please not sweaty! Don’t be afraid to extend your hand first if the interviewer doesn’t. This shows initiative and politeness.
  2. Smile: A warm and welcoming smile can instantly win someone over so smile warmly and make sure it reaches your eyes.
  3. Wait to be asked to sit: This is not so much of a body language tip but it is a bit of a rookie mistake to sit down before you’re asked – it shows that you’re trying to assert dominance over the situation and have little respect for the person you’re dealing with (plus it’s rude!)

Be Comfortable With The Situation

  1. Posture: Don’t slouch – it makes you look uninterested, unprofessional and (dare I say it) lazy. Sit right to the back of the chair and imagine there’s a rod or string running through the top of your head and spine keeping you straight.
  2. Mind Your Legs: Keep both feet flat on the floor. Crossing your legs is a bit of a no-no in some situations, plus if you have your legs crossed the temptation is there to shake or tap your feet. Also, having your feet planted firmly on the ground apparently helps you to root yourself to the “here-and-now” and move between the creative and logical centres of your brain more easily – who knew a simple foot position could do that?!
  3. Be Open: I’ve talked about Open Body Language at length in a previous post but the main points to remember are open arms, upward palms – simple, eh?!
  4. Eye Contact: This can be a bit of an awkward one as if you stare too much you run the risk of looking like a bit of a psycho! It’s recommended that you focus on the other person’s face, moving from feature to feature rather than just staring directly into their eyes, this shows interest in the other person without being too creepy.
  5. Hand Gestures: These show that you’re interested in the subject you’re talking about and are passionate about it. They help to emphasise points you are making and punctuate your speech. Keep the gestures above the navel (you don’t want to draw attention to your crotch!) and below the shoulders (you’ll look like an arm waving loony).
  6. Nod: Not all of the time like a nodding dog obviously! Occasional nodding shows that you are listening and understanding what the interviewer is saying.
  7. Mirroring: As we saw in our previous post about telling if someone likes you from their body language, mirroring is an important factor in determining how people feel about you. If you can subtly mirror some of the interviewers gestures they will subconsciously feel warmer towards you.
  8. Don’t Fidget: This shows a lack of interest and attention, plus it’s really annoying! I know that you will have a lot of nervous energy but try to keep it in check.

Make A Gracious Exit

If you have brought items in with you (such as a bag), make sure they’re on the floor next to you during your interview. Putting them on your lap forms a barrier between you and the interviewer which is bad for open communication.

When the interview is over, don’t be pressured into grabbing your items too quickly and rushing out. This can cause you to fumble and you run the risk of dropping everything – if you do, don’t worry just make a joke of it and carry on.

You can use this packing up time to thank the interviewer for seeing you which, in itself, is almost as important as all of the above tips. Once you have yourself sorted you should leave yourself a hand free for the all important winning parting handshake.

Over To You

Any other tips for surviving interviews you’d like to share with our readers? They don’t have to be body language related. Let us know in the comments!

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