There are so many articles out there advising the best answers to give to classic interview questions, the best buzz words and phrases to use and the best way to prepare. The truth is, however, that no matter how outstanding your answers are you could be letting yourself down with your body language. Simple things like eye contact, your stance and even your facial expressions can make a huge impression on your potential employer, even before you open your mouth. Here are my top tips for making sure you don’t lose that job!
1. Eye contact
Eye contact is one of the most important ways in which we communicate, particularly at interview. A potential employer is going to be looking for honesty and confidence, two keys that you can definitely demonstrate by making eye contact with your interviewers. If there is a panel, make sure you give everyone equal time, including them all in your answers.
2. Seem interested
For many of us, folding our arms is a natural resting position. It can be comfortable, and a defence mechanism when feeling nervous. However, to somebody that doesn’t know you, folded arms can easily make you seem disinterested and closed off. My best advice? Relax! Rest your hands wherever feels most comfortable, as long as your stance is open!
3. Follow their lead
Common advice will often tell you to mimic the language used by your prospective company, or to dress like the company employees in order to prove to your potential employer that you would fit in there. The easiest way to make your interviewer think you’re at ease in the situation is to take social cues from the interviewers themselves! See how they sit in their chairs? Maybe you can do the same. Just remember, fit in, don’t mimic!
4. Appear calm
Tapping your fingers, picking at your nails, fiddling with a ring – these are all things we do when we are nervous and fidgety. However, a potential employer wants to see that you can keep calm under pressure, and nervous ticks definitely won’t demonstrate that. Take a drink of water, relax your hands and keep them still, it’ll make it easier for you to focus on your answers too!
This is the most important advice I can give. While you’re focusing on all of the above, your answers, and how much you want the job, it can be very easy to forget the expression on your face! Show your potential employer how relaxed
you are by smiling. If your attitude is warm, your interviewer will warm to you, so stay calm and smile!
Photo: Flickr / Dave Fayram
Can you think of any more tips on interview body language? Let us know in the comments below!
I’m a serial multi-tasker who loves having no spare time. Also an English Literature student.