Career Management

5 Essential Body Language Tips For Your Next Job Interview


It is said, body language is a critical factor that determines your success in a professional setting. A perfect posture helps you come across as being extremely professional, influence the people you interact with, and present your ideas with more impact.

Here are 5 tips that will help you project the much needed confidence while interviewing for the next job:

1) Body Posture

The position that you maintain while interviewing should not only put you at ease but also make you feel confident and comfortable. Slouching may portray lack of interest or confidence at your end.

The experts agree that aiming for a neutral posture is your best bet. “Leaning back suggests boredom or lack of interest,” says Karen Friedman, author of Shut up and Say Something: business Communication Strategies to Overcome Challenges and Influence Listeners.  “People typically lean into a conversation when they like someone, so leaning back can signal the opposite. Experts agree that leaning forward can be just as problematic, as it can seem overly solicitous or even threatening .”

2) The Handshake

The handshake is the most critical part of your introduction and is the first opportunity an interviewer gets, to form an impression of you.

The first thing to master in the handshake is timing.  Wait until the introduction is finished before extending your hand.  Do not extend your hand too quickly. Next, deliver the handshake with a smile and eye contact.  Make the grip firm, but not bone-crushing.

Finally, start and stop the handshake crisply.  It should be no longer than three seconds, and no more than three pumps of the arm.

3) Eye Contact

Eye contact is a sign that makes you appear honest and confident. Maintaining constant eye contact is necessary to make the interviewer realize that you are attentive. However, be sure to not stare. Locking eyes might make you come across as being aggressive.

Eye contact is important in making your look sincere and truthful. In panel interviews it may be easiest to make eye contact with the person asking the question and then altering your body position when a different interviewer asks you a question. You may feel uncomfortable making continual eye contact so one suggestion can be to look at the questioner's left ear and if they are sat more than a meter away you cannot tell that you are not looking in their eye. Why not try it with one of your friends? If you are man, being interviewed by a woman ensure your eye line remains above the female interviewer's shoulder. Even if you are not looking at your interviewer's chest or legs that is the assumption that some women will make!

4) Voice and Tone

The pitch and quality of the voice are usually the indicators of your personality. If the pitch is too high, you might be regarded as someone who is very aggressive, less empathic and possibly autocratic in his/her behavior. On the contrary, if you have a soft and shaky voice, you might be perceived as being under confident.

In the workplace, the quality of your voice can be a deciding factor in how you are perceived. Speakers with higher-pitched voices are judged to be less empathic, less powerful and more nervous than speakers with lower pitched voices. One easy technique I learned from a speech therapist was to put your lips together and say “Um hum, um hum, um hum.” Doing so relaxes your voice into its optimal pitch. This is especially helpful before you get on an important phone call – where the sound of your voice is so critical.

5) Gestures & Expressions

Try and make limited hand gestures and movements during an interview. Do not stay stiff without any expressions. Sitting with your arms folded might make you look defensive.

Pointing is often perceived as an aggressive motion and in some cultures is considered incredibly rude. Repeated or aggressive hand gestures should be kept to a minimum.

If you shove your hands in your pockets, behind your back or even crossed in front of your chest you run the risk of appearing closed off, stiff or belligerent. “You should appear open and approachable,” says Friedman, “which means your hands should be in front of you and ready to gesture naturally.”

It’s rightly said that communication is 7% verbal and 93% non-verbal. Hence, it is necessary to project confidence and competence through the right postures and body language to be successful in your interviews.

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