When interviewing for a job, your body language may tell the interviewer more about you than anything you can say. Body language can be controlled, with self-awareness and a lot of thought. Understanding what your body is saying about you is the first step in figuring out how to fix it. During a study by CareerBuilder with Hiring Managers, they were asked “What are the top body language mistakes that would make them less likely to hire someone?” Some of the most popular responses are below, with a few others that I regularly see from candidates.
Weak Handshake = Lack of Confidence
Your handshake should be firm, not limp. You do not want to crush the other person’s hand. A Firm handshake shows confidence and strength.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, if you are not smiling is tells the other person you are not happy in the situation and that you really do not have any interest in being there.
Lack of Eye Contact = Low Comfort Level
Lack of eye contact is important during a conversation. Shifty eyes and no eye contact will tell the other person that you are not comfortable. **Important note – do not stare as it will unsettle the person you are talking with.
Crossing Arms = Defensive
Keep yourself as relaxed as you can and sit with your hands in your lap. It also helps to use your hands to gesture during the conversation. Most importantly try to relax.
Poor Posture = Low Confidence
Sit tall in the chair, with your shoulders back. This shows interest in what is being discussed and confidence in yourself.
Fidgeting = Nervousness
Some examples of nervousness are; touching your hair or face, playing with jewelry, cracking knuckles and twirling a pen. Many people are nervous during an interview, being aware of it can help, but this will require practice to overcome.
In an article by CareerBuilder, from the study mentioned above, they provided three tips to help you avoid body language errors in an interview. These are:
- Keep calm – To make the best impression and avoid nervous body language, take measures to stay as calm as possible before the interview. Leave the house with plenty of time to get to the interview, avoid caffeine if possible and take deep, calming breaths.
- Practice makes perfect – The old adage proves true in this case, as you’ll feel more comfortable the more you prepare for the interview, and in turn, it will help decrease your anxiety. Rehearse ahead of time with friends or family, do your homework on the company and be prepared for common interview questions.
- See for yourself – Viewing yourself while speaking can help you notice what body language mistakes you might be making without realizing. Look in a mirror while practicing interview responses or videotape yourself to figure out your typical physical movements, and whether or not you need to change them.
There is no doubt that interviewing is one of the most stressful pieces of the job search. Companies are looking for the people who can handle pressure and the interview will give them a glimpse of your ability. As with everything I have said in the past, preparation and practice will give you a great start. The internet is full of websites that provide sample interview questions. Print them off and start practicing, either by yourself or with a friend.