You’ve probably heard the statistic that communication is 93% non-verbal and only 7% verbal. So putting it another way, when you go for interview, it’s only 7% what you say and 93% how you say it. A huge component of non-verbal communication is body language, and when it comes to interview, the messages you are giving with your body language can be the difference between a job offer and not. Body language is often instinctive and something you can’t control, but there are few simple things that can make you appear a more confident and attractive candidate to a prospective employer.
Perhaps the most important aspect of body language is making eye contact. This demonstrates to the interviewers that you’re listening and interested in talking to them. If there’s a panel of interviewers, try to make and maintain eye contact with each of them in turn. If you find it difficult to make eye contact and maintain it then practice with friends or family in a non-interview situation which will be less stressful.
Sit Up Straight
If you sit on the edge of your seat and are hunched up, you’re going to look nervous and unsure of yourself. In contrast, slouching or lounging carelessly will make them think you don’t want to be there. Sit up straight in a relaxed but upright position. Leaning towards someone a little as you’re speaking to them shows them you’re interested in what they have to say.
Often the interviewer will shake your hand as you enter and this is your chance to make a good first impression. Many people feel awkward shaking hands with strangers so practice; you’re aiming for a handshake which is firm and confident. A too weak handshake is going to give the first impression that you’re a timid character, but grip their hand too firmly and they’ll think you’re trying to dominate. It’s a fine balance.
If you know you’re a fidget when you’re nervous, make a conscious effort not to fiddle with the buttons on your jacket or the coins in your pocket, mess with your hair or tap your fingers or feet on the table or floor. It’s distracting for the interviewer, and isn’t going to add to the impression that you’re a stable, reliable and confident individual who would be an asset to their company.
An interview is by nature a high-stress situation and depending on how it goes, you could start to feel a bit defensive. However, try to resist the temptation to cross your arms across your chest; this gives the impression that you are blocking off communication and can be perceived as hostile. It’s best to keep your hands in your lap.
Keep It Natural
It might seem there’s a lot to remember, and if you don’t naturally sit up straight and make eye contact, this is something to work on. You have to be yourself in interview, and consciously trying to change or control every aspect of your body language will appear false. Practise is key; the more you are in an interview situation, the more your confidence will grow.