Using the right body language for job interviews is critical to success. According to some researchers, fully 92% of communication takes place non-verbally, with words contributing only about 8%. That’s why you must carefully evaluate your body language for job interviews.
Non-verbal means of communication includes your appearance – your dressing, and also includes the signals you convey with your body – the way you carry yourself, gestures, facial expressions, the way you sit and more. All of this is part of your body language for job interviews.
Let’s look at some very useful interview etiquette on issues related to body language.
In a stressful situation like a job interview, it’s possible that you might be more fidgety than usual. For example, you might tap your foot, fiddle with a button or a pen, repeatedly run fingers through your hair, nodding your head too much, etc.
These convey that you may be nervous or bored and makes for a fairly unprofessional image. That’s bad body language for job interviews.
Often, you may not be aware of such problems. Ask your family or friends to point such mannerisms out to you. If you have any such habits, be on your guard and work towards eliminating them.
A very powerful way to connect with your interviewer is to make eye contact. When you make eye contact with the person you are speaking to, you convey confidence and openness.
Obviously, don’t overdo eye contact and continuously stare at the interviewer. Be sure to pull your eyes away from time to time and then come back to looking at him. They should never get the impression that you are staring at them continuously.
Body language specialists say that looking down is sometimes taken to mean that you have something to hide.
So when you break eye contact to look away from the person, try not to look downwards, particularly not at your heels or the floor near to you. Instead, you can try looking at a point upwards or on the same level as the interviewer’s eyes.
Your facial expression should be relaxed. A tense expression, brow furrowed, face twitching, etc is a red flag to an interviewer.
The best expression to have on your face is a smile. It’s one of the best body language for job interviews you can think of.
The way you carry yourself is also important. Your walk should be erect and energetic, with the shoulders pulled back slightly. Keep your posture straight while sitting.
Do not cross your arms across your chest – that looks defensive, as every body language book will tell you.
The first thing you do when you meet someone is to shake hands. There is a right way of doing this. The key is to be moderate – your handshake should not be too firm as if you were trying to crush the other person’s hands, nor should it be limp, as if your hands do not have any life in them at all.
It should be firm – there’s no way to adequately describe it in writing, but you know a good handshake when you receive one, don’t you?
And don’t keep on pumping up and down – just one or a maximum of two pumping actions is enough.
In general, keep unnecessary movements to a minimum. You can, of course, move your hands and gesture while talking, but do so in a slightly understated manner and in no case make exaggerated, wild movements. Abrupt movements are bad body language for job interviews.
There is also the question of personal space. As a rule of thumb, stay no closer than an arm’s length when you are standing or sitting next to someone.
Else they may feel that you are intruding on their space and even when they consciously do not want to do so, they may end up feeling hostile towards you.
Apart from all the above, it’s critically important to just be yourself!
The interviewer needs to connect with you as a person, besides hearing the technicalities of your skills, etc. For some reason, many candidates gloss over this basic fact.
There are many folks who go into a job interview and try to behave in what they think is their ‘best behavior’.
They sit in a stiff, erect manner, palms resting on their thighs, a perpetual smile on their face, over-eager to please the interviewer and answer any question he may ask.
They never ask the interviewer any questions and zip out of the room with a thank you after the interview is over. The interviewer is left with the impression that the job seeker is someone who does not seem to have a mind of his own.
Just focus on behaving as you normally would, keeping in mind the appropriate level of formality called for on such occasions. Try to establish a genuine rapport with the person you are talking to.
See this page for more issues related to body language for job interviews.