Ready For Your Job Interview? Don’t Let Your Body Language Let You Down
The New Year brings with it a wave of fresh optimism that will see many of us applying for new jobs, in the hope of taking our career to the next level. But if your upbeat mood results in a glowing application that gets you straight on that shortlist, it’s easy to blow it all when you reach interview stage. It’s one thing to demonstrate your achievements in written words, but any number of reasons may cause you to underperform in front of the panel: maybe your confidence abandons you, maybe you try too hard, or maybe you just don’t have the right technique.
Don’t Fail To Make Eye Contact
Body language adds a whole new dimension to the way you present yourself, so it’s important to brush up on the basics before you step foot into that interview room. Two-thirds of HR managers reckon lack of eye contact is a candidate’s biggest mistake – your shyness may be mistaken for a lack of integrity.
If you know your confidence in this area is likely to let you down, you can prepare in advance by practicing with a friend. When you feel scrutinized by the panel, try to stay strong: it’s only natural that they should be looking at you while you speak!
Fidget Less To Listen More Effectively
Remarkably, another quarter of applicants lose out from fidgeting too much. Science tells us that playing with your hair or twiddling your thumbs is a perfectly natural way to lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Unfortunately, unless you’re being interviewed by a team of endocrinologists and behavioral therapists, the panel is likely to misread your roaming hands as a sign of low confidence – indicating a lack of preparation.
To avoid giving the wrong signal, make sure to cross your hands in your lap or on your knee when you sit down. This has the additional result of preventing you crossing your arms – a gesture which body language experts warn can make you look defensive and/or insecure. Remember to hold your shoulders back, sit up straight, and rein those hands in. Don’t stay too rigid, but ensure your gestures are meaningful.
Put a Smile On Your Face
Finally, a note on smiling: it’s a good thing. A whopping 39% of interviewers report being left cold by unsmiling candidates. One study suggests that smiling has the ‘yawn’ effect – in other words, smiling is contagious! Keep the panel jolly, and they’ll retain positive memories of you. Of course, it’s difficult to force a smile when you’re nervous or the conversation seems serious: but smiling before you even go in can actually raise your mood, and make it easier to respond to light-hearted chat with a warm expression.
When you’ve done your homework, you’ve dressed up smart and arrived on time, it’s a shame to sabotage your job interview by sending the wrong body signals. Check out the infographic below for more hints and tips on making the right impression.