Body language plays a crucial part in effective non-verbal communication. These silent signals reveal underlying motives and feelings, and a first impression is 55% based on body language.
The smallest gestures, like the way you stand or enter a room, can speak volumes about your confidence and credibility. The way you sit, speak, and even look at others reveals more about your true intent than you may realise.
Job interviews are notoriously nerve-wracking.
You want to be confident, but not arrogant; intelligent but not a show-off. Trying to find a balance AND explain why you deserve consideration is hard enough, but what if your body language could help you out?
1) To boost your confidence before heading in, replace your smartphone with a newspaper.
Few candidates realise that the way they sit while waiting in reception has everything to do with a potential employer’s initial impression. Research shows that holding your body in “high power” poses (standing tall with shoulders pulled back and widening your stance) raises testosterone, the hormone connected to power and self-confidence, and lowers the levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone”.
However, this hormonal effect is reversed, when you contract yourself physically. This could be things like hunching your shoulders or tucking your chin down.
So, when you’re in the reception area waiting for your interview, would you rather be bent over your phone, elbows pulled in and shoulders hunched? Or sitting up straight, feet firmly on the floor, arms spread wide holding an open newspaper?
2) Shake hands and shake hands properly.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times; You should always start by shaking hands with your interviewer. You are far more likely to be remembered, and your interviewer will likely appreciate the friendlier and more open greeting rather than a nervous “hello”.
A strong handshake can allow you to demonstrate confidence, create an instant bond. Not only do we also recommend perfecting your handshake, but it's also a good idea to learn how to politely handle an inexperienced hand-shaker, or deal with awkward handshakes.
3) Smile the right way.
A lot of interview advice articles out there say that candidates should smile more during interviews, but this is not always the best idea. What’s better is to smile right. When people smile too much they are often perceived as weak, or not listening; Many studies have shown that people in power do not smile much at all but instead smile at the right time.
We recommend you smile when you first meet the interviewer and shake their hand, when you talk about topics you are enthusiastic about and again at the end of the interview while saying goodbye.
4) To make the most of your authority, control your enthusiasm.
If you’re fairly outgoing, you have most likely already made a favourable first impression. We are naturally drawn to passionate people whose emotions are easily read.
But be careful. When your communication style lacks subtlety, your over-exuberance can overwhelm an interviewer. In an interview, you want to maximize your professionalism by minimising your movements. Take a big breath, bring your gestures down to waist level, and pause before making a key point.
When you appear calm and contained, you look more powerful and in control.
5) To “seal the deal,” make a confident last impression.
As you’re leaving, remember to make a winning exit:
- Stand-up tall
- Shake hands firmly
- Make eye contact
- Say “thank you”
Doing this will leave your counterpart with the impression that you are someone he or she should look forward to dealing with in the future. A warm farewell is just as important as a warm welcome.
+ 3 quick bonus tips straight from the consultants!
Avoid Crossing Your Legs
“Most of us recommend against crossing your legs. With a longer interview, you may need to re-cross them because your leg is falling asleep. This could come across as fidgeting!”
Suppress Restless Habits
“Speaking of fidgeting…if you're a nail-biter, hair twirler, knuckle cracker, or leg tapper, don't let these habits show during an interview! It will just come across as unprofessional and make you look nervous. Plus: Most of these actions are generally considered impolite, and you don’t want to annoy your interviewer!”
Use Your Hands (calmly!)
“If you naturally talk with your hands then go ahead and let them move during an interview. Stopping your natural gestures and movements could lead to an awkward appearance. Just make sure you don't become so enthusiastic that the interviewer is distracted from your words.”