Most of us have some idea of how to conduct ourselves in an interview: dress well, shake hands, be polite, answer questions and show that you’re enthusiastic about the job opportunity. But what about the things we don’t say out loud? There’s a whole set of messages you’re putting across just through your body language. No matter how nervous you might be feeling, here are some simple interview tips to keep in mind to make sure your body language matches what comes out of your mouth.
Walk the walk
First things first, you need to walk into the interview. These few seconds will give an initial impression to your interviewer so make sure your back is straight, your head is up and that you take confident strides.
Work on your handshake
It’s a well-known fact that people judge your confidence on how you deliver a handshake so be sure to take a fairly firm grasp and give a short movement before releasing, meanwhile looking into the face of the recipient. Even if inside you’re a bag of nerves, a strong handshake will give the appearance of confidence.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Sit down either when asked or at the same time as the interviewer. The best way to sit is with both feet on the ground, or crossed at the ankles. Crossing your legs at the knee is too informal for an interview. Also make sure that your back is straight, no slouching or sitting on the edge of your seat.
It’s important to show that you’re listening attentively to your interviewer. To demonstrate this, be sure to lean in a little when they are speaking and to nod your head occasionally. Don’t overdo it and be sure to listen out for any humour and smile appropriately.
When you’re speaking, inject some enthusiasm into your delivery by using hand gestures, particularly those where your palms are visible. Showing open hands indicates openness and honesty whereas not using your hands when you speak is known to be interpreted as distrustful.
It’s all in the eyes
Throughout the interview, make a conscious effort to look into the face of the interviewer. Don’t always look into their eyes as this can come across a bit too strong and intense, so occasionally choose their eyes but combine it with looking elsewhere on their face such as at their nose or lips.
Just as important as the things you should do, are the things you shouldn’t. These are a couple of mistakes which are easily avoided.
- Crossing your arms. This is a defensive position and will give the impression that you have something to hide and are not engaging with your interviewer.
- Looking at the floor. This is the number one way to show that you’re nervous and lacking in confidence.
- Hugging your luggage. Don’t keep your handbag or briefcase on your lap, it looks awkward and uncomfortable and distracts from what you’re saying.
- Laughing too loudly or acting over-familiar. This could put interviewers off as much as being quiet and unapproachable, no one likes an overconfident candidate.
Finally, if you are nervous about interviews, then remember you can always contact us for advice. We will be able to tell you more about the company your interview is with, what clothing would be appropriate and the kind of questions you’re likely to be asked. It never hurts to be well prepared!