There’s a lot to think about during an interview, and body language is definitely something to focus on. Most of our communication is done via our body language (55%, to be more precise), and so the employer will be using this to get a better idea of who you are. Follow the advice below to stop yourself making any body language-based mistakes.
Don’t mess up your entrance:
How you walk into the room will be one of the first things the employer notices about you. Don’t saunter in, because you’ll look like you don’t want to be there. If you rush in, then you’ll come across as nervous. Before you go, practice a confident, moderately-paced walk.
Don’t follow your employer blindly into the room:
If you walk into the room without taking any notice of your surroundings then you’re likely to miss a big opportunity to use your body language to your advantage. Get a sense of where you are (this could help you to come up with questions, and to get a feel for the company), and also remember to smile at everyone you walk past – they could, for all you know, be your new colleague.
Slouching looks really lazy, and so the interview room is neither the time or the place. Similarly, leaning forwards too much can look hostile. Sit up straight, with your back resting against the back of the chair, and maintain a good posture. Lean forwards slightly to show your interest, but keep your body language open.
Don’t cross your arms or your legs:
Crossed arms looks very negative, and so much be avoided at all costs. Crossed legs means that you’re feet aren’t grounded, and could lead to potentially embarrassing balance issues, or getting stuck in the same position (from my experience, this does happen in unfamiliar situations). Keep your feet firmly grounded, and your arms open.
Don’t hide your hands:
Hiding your hands is seen as a sign of dishonesty, so never put them behind your back or hidden away from the interviewer. Instead, let your palms show when you can, to promote openness and trust. If there’s a table, then use it to rest your hands on.
Pointing is a very aggressive form of body language, and so never, ever point at your interviewer. They might feel accused by you, and it could make the space between you seem uncomfortably small.
Don’t use too little or too much eye contact:
Eye contact is hard to get right – if you use too much you look creepy, but if you don’t use enough then you look shifty. Find a good balance by focusing on a different point of your interviewer’s face every few seconds, rather than staring into their soul.
Fidgeting is very distracting for the interviewer, and can make you seem really nervous and apprehensive. If you’re a natural fidgeter then take steps before hand to make sure you don’t do it, such as taking in a notepad and pen to take notes with when you start feeling nervous.
Don’t forget to breathe:
Despite breathing being something we have to do in order to survive, it can be very easy to not be conscious of our breathing in scary situations. This can lead to us speaking too quickly, or seeming anxious. To avoid this, take a deep breath in, and then speak as you exhale. The deep breathing should also make you feel calmer.
Don’t leave in a hurry:
Once the interview is over, it’s understandable that you want to get back to the safety of your own home as soon as possible. This should never come across though – it makes you look like you really don’t want to be there. Make sure to be friendly with the employer as you leave, and walk calmly away from the situation once it is apparent that the interview is over.