While we are all aware of body language when we view others, we often forget how important it is when we make our first impression. Your interview body language can make the difference between a positive and negative encounter. Here are a few tips to help guide you through specific situations in the job interview process.
The waiting room
Whether you are standing or sitting, demonstrate good posture. Avoid slumping or leaning. Don’t give in to nervous mannerisms such as foot or finger tapping. Don’t focus on your phone, although an occasional glance is okay.
Firm, but don’t really squeeze. Don’t pump your arm up & down. Try out your handshake on a friend or family member. And handshakes should be brief. They quickly become uncomfortable if you linger.
Don’t slump. Keep your hands free. Don’t be afraid to use you hands when you speak – most people do, and you may look overly restrained if you try to hold this in. Lean forward slightly to indicate interest. Do not recline back into the chair. Avoid crossing your arms or placing items in your lap. Avoid crossing your legs.
It’s even more important in the interview than in the waiting room. Yes, it can be a tense time, but you must exude a sense of Zen calm. This will help you appear professional and composed. Playing with your hair, drumming your fingers, even cracking your knuckles will make people doubt you. These are some of the same tics that police look for when determining how truthful suspects are. Get hold of yourself for the 20 minutes – you can do it!
Make eye contact when being asked questions, but don’t get into a staring contest. It is very normal to look away, especially when you are thinking. When considering a response, it’s okay to focus elsewhere. Some of the best advice I’ve heard is to act as though the interviewer is a friend of yours, and make eye contact accordingly.