Importance of posture and body language in an Interview
Interviews are stressful enough without having to pay attention to your posture and body language; that too in addition to everything else, such as your resume, giving the right answers, not embarrassing yourselves, etc. But what if we tell you that appropriate posture and body language just might be the difference between getting the job and not getting it, even if you do everything else right.
Your posture and body language can say a lot about you as a person. In fact, they are often classified under the heading of non-verbal communication because of how much they can say about you. The term, ‘body language’ itself proves this. It is the language of the body, and the purpose of any language is communication. There are classes and seminars held on it, hence it must be important.
Body language includes facial expressions, body posture, gestures, including hand and eye movement. It also includes the use of touch and space. All of which work together to present a picture of yourself.
Think of a scenario where a person comes in for an interview. They give all the right answers and have all the right skills, but they were slouching, and looked bored. It looked like they would rather be anywhere else but here. They kept shaking their leg or tapping the table. It looked like they just wanted to get the interview over with.
Now, compare that with a candidate who has the same skills and gives all the same answer, but their manner is completely different. They appear confident. They gave a strong firm handshake when they entered the room, and maintained eye contact throughout the interview. They didn’t shake their leg or kept tapping the table. It didn’t look like they were waiting for the interview to get over; they actually genuinely seemed interested in the interview.
So, looking at these two similar, but completely different candidates, which one would you hire? Remember they have the same skills and gave the same answers to every question. The only difference between the two candidates is body language, which just might make the world of difference in an interview, or anywhere really.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Be sure to sit up straight and be alert. Don’t slouch, as this shows sloppiness or that you don’t seem interested. No interviewer will be interested in hiring somebody who doesn’t seem to be interested in the job. But be sure to not appear stiff.
Act Calm and Collected
Don’t do any bored or nervous gestures such as tapping your foot, playing with your hair or a button, don’t keep pulling at your clothes or tapping the table, etc. This shows that you are nervous, while you should actually be confident.
When you meet the interviewer, make eye contact, and greet them. Remember to give a strong and firm handshake. This shows your confidence level and your personality. Strong handshake equals to a Strong personality, whereas a weak or limp handshake implies a weak personality. But remember not to break your interviewer’s hand either. Too strong a handshake may see overbearing and aggressive.
Nothing will gross out an interviewer more that sweaty palms during a handshake. Ensure that your hands are dry, by avoiding balling up your fists. Keeping them open and relaxed will lead to less perspiration and will allow it to dry off. If you know you are prone to sweaty hands, keep a napkin in your pocket and wipe your hands down before going in.
It’s okay to smile or laugh in an interview, however only when the occasion calls for it. Smiling can put both you and the interviewer at ease. However, too much smiling can come off as creepy, while not enough smiling can make you seem unfriendly. So, remember to balance it out.
Too Many Hand Gestures
Avoid making too many hand gestures, as it can be very distracting. It is okay to make a few, as long as it looks natural. Too few gestures will make you seem stiff and robotic, while too many will cause the interviewer to get distracted and focus on the gestures rather than what you are saying. Neither prospect is good.
Be mindful of personal space. Don’t lean in too much or stand too close to a person. Make sure to stand far enough to be respectful of their personal space. But not so far that it seems awkward.
However, after everything is said and done, keep these tips in mind, but don’t get caught up in how you should act or behave. If you do, you might just get stuck in your head and make more mistakes to begin with. Instead rely on your gut instinct, act natural and with confidence, not nervously. In your mind, picture the perfect candidate, someone who you would want to hire. How do they act? Try to emulate their actions and behavior. The most important is confidence. You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to be presentable. The rest will fall into place.