What does this mean for you when you walk into the interview room? Clearly that your entrance and immediate presentation are of critical importance.
In order to feel confident you need to be wearing appropriate professional clothing and have prepared yourself by looking at the company website, reading up on any recent company news and being aware of the sorts of interview questions you might be asked. Your body language will either confirm or undermine the image you seek to present to your future employer.
The following five body language tips will help you succeed in interview
Eye Contact: In western culture this is very important. When you first walk into the room deliberately make eye contact. This shows your interviewer confidence and sincerity. If you have more than one person interviewing you at once, make eye contact as you shake the hand of each member of the panel. During the interview try to maintain eye contact with the interviewer asking the question. If you look away while listening, it can show a lack of interest and a short attention span. If you fail to maintain eye contact while speaking, it may be interpreted as a lack of confidence in what you are saying and at worst may send the subtle message that you are lying. One way to assess your eye contact is to practice interview questions with a friend and ask them to assess your eye contact. If this is something you don’t naturally do then practice.
Facial Expressions: Some people really struggle with this. I have been in interview situations where the applicant looks like they are going to their own funeral. It is a great idea to smile every so often and it tends to ease the mood. Don’t be like the applicant who confessed to using too much valium and who complained that the interview didn’t represent her personality. Try to look interested and enthusiastic.
Posture: When you are confident you will stand up straight and it is good practice to stand up straight before the beginning of the interview. When you are seated, make sure you sit at the front edge of the chair, it’s a good idea to leaning slightly forward. This indicates that you are interested and concentrating. Don’t make the mistake of lounging around this can make you look arrogant or disinterested. Try to avoid fidgetting or tapping your fingers on the desk. This can be really distracting and shift the focus onto your behaviour rather than what you are saying.
Gestures: Have you observed or seen a video clip where extravagant hand gestures were used? This can look theatrical and artificial and can really work against you. Also avoid pointing or chopping one hand into the palm of the other. This can make you look aggressive or defensive. Try not to bite your fingernails or keep your arms crossed as this will make you look nervous or defensive. Rather keep your gestures limited to what is natural and meaningful.
When you shake hands with the panel, make sure you give a firm hand shake not a dead fish limp effort or an aggressive hand crush. A firm hand shake and smile indicates confidence.
Personal space. Be aware that if you crowd someone they may be intimidated. The average personal space for Americans is about 90 cm and it is probably similar for Australians. Take note if someone is backing away.
When all is said and done your attitude will be reflected in your body language. So go into your next interview with confidence, making sure that you have prepared yourself thoroughly. Try to relax and let the interview panel see your better self.
By David Bromilow.
MD National Talent Partners.
Securing and developing talented people for sucessful businesses.