In our body language series, we want to provide you with every bit of information which can affect the quality of your interview experience. Keeping up with this aim, here we are with our next blog in the series – on body language tips. In another post, we talked about the definition, manifestation, and importance of body language in an interview. Now, it’s time to get to the bottom of powerful body language tips for an interview.
- Body language tip 1: maintain your body posture at all times
- Body language tip 2: don’t be too self-engrossed or rigid
- Body language tip 3: make yourself comfortable
- Body language tip 4: make eye contact and smile
- Body language tip 5: search for a ‘power pose’ and practice it
- Body language tip 6: try to follow the interviewer’s footsteps
- Body language tip 7: never hold anything in your lap!
- Body language tip 8: place your feet firmly or cross your legs correctly
- Body language tip 9: ending the interview well is as important as starting it properly
Reach towards perfection while understanding and applying these body language tips in your own gestures and postures during an interview.
You can tell a lot by someone’s body language.
~ Harvey Wolt
We know it can be difficult to make your mind around so many things and so we understand that you need some effective and quick body language tips on what you SHOULD do to win the race. Here are 9 tried and tested methods which work really well during an interview:
Body language tip 1: maintain your body posture at all times
Keep your body posture straight, attentive and slightly leaning forward rather than bent and lazy. Never sit with your legs and arms crossed narrowly (in the case of arms, don’t cross them near your chest) since it gives an impression that you’re not ready to accept their views or open to challenges. Also, don’t keep your hands in a way which disrupts the direct eye contact with your interviewer. Be confident in your seat and walk out confidently as well. Sit straight with your legs slightly open or crossed broadly.
It is necessary for you to shake hands firmly and confidently (but DO NOT go overboard with it). A soft grip means a weak grip on difficult situations and no interviewer wants to see that. Though it would not make them directly avoid your application, it does make a horrible first impression and we don’t want that, right?
To have a correct body language, one needs a correct grip, which is neither too soft, nor too hard. The video given below, by Capstone Publishing (a Wiley brand), is about professional handshakes. It describes this sensitive topic fairly well.
Body language tip 2: don’t be too self-engrossed or rigid
The interview does not start when you sit in front of the HR and answer his/her questions. It begins when you enter the office and enquire at the reception. Yes, employers tend to take your personality’s review from the reception itself. They want to know how you normally behave in front of people, how you try to break the ice between yourself and the other people in that office (who can be your future co-worker or boss!). Smile when you make an eye contact with anyone, nod your head as a polite gesture or wish them a good morning. It’s necessary and quite easy.
Body language tip 3: make yourself comfortable
While you’re giving your interview, take care of your needs. Prepare a checklist in advance so that you have everything in place like notepads, certificates, directions, pen, calculator etc. During the interview, speak up to ask for what you want, with a polite smile and a confident eye contact. If you feel thirsty, ask for a glass of water then and there, else your interview might not go that great! This will make your interviewers assured that you possess the right traits for teamwork.
Body language tip 4: make eye contact and smile
We smile our best at a casual gathering. Likewise, it is necessary to smile in a formal interview as well. Employers always look for a person who is flexible and polite. Hence a grim and disinterested face might add you to their bad books. Keep the conversation light, make eye contact because it will show your confidence level and transparent conduct, and don’t forget to smile a little. If there are three people in the panel, have a 15-20 second eye contact with each of them.
Body language tip 5: search for a ‘power pose’ and practice it
We have talked about poses and how they help us to assume certain stances which can impress our interviewers. When we feel confident, we tend to occupy a lot of space by spreading our legs and arms. While this pose might be helpful, it can also lead to an impression which suggests that you are overconfident. Amy Cuddy in her Ted talk explains how poses actually work and can be improved.
Body language tip 6: try to follow the interviewer’s footsteps
While walking to the interview cabin, it is the best time to adjust yourself to the demeanour of your interviewer. When he comes to call for you, trace his footsteps, follow him swiftly and see how his arms move. Try to mirror the movements but not like frantic actors.
Allowing yourself to follow their footsteps will give them a hint that you’re ready to follow their lead and adjust. Trust us, it is a good sign.
Body language tip 7: never hold anything in your lap!
The slim portfolio with all your important documents and presentation should be on your table, not inside your bag. Take it out before going to the interview. Keep it on the table and don’t worry, nobody cares if it has designs on it!
People unknowingly place their briefcases, purses, bags etc. on their laps while giving an interview and it does nothing but confirms your restricted personality to the interviewer. Place them firmly either on the tabletop, or on the ground and be clear in your gestures. Sit a foot away from the table so that your gestures are clearly visible to them.
Body language tip 8: place your feet firmly or cross your legs correctly
Show your open palms in gestures, to gain the trust of the interviewers. Use head and hand gestures but subtly. Use hand gestures to add a strong conviction. Place your feet on the ground firmly. Ladies, please do not cross your legs at the knees, but at the ankles.
Body language tip 9: ending the interview well is as important as starting it properly
After all the questions are answered by you and the panel has interviewed you completely, there comes the last test of your body language. If you are too eager to stand and leave, they’ll be sure about your nervousness and need for fresh air. Stand up calmly, collect your stuff, smile a little and nod your head while expressing your gratitude. A polite “Thank you, sir. I would hope to hear from the company soon”, will just be perfect. Shaking hands is an important ritual again.
Lastly, have a smooth exit. Don’t try to judge the panel’s body language because they are trained to not give away much. Exit smoothly and smile towards people who make eye contact with you while you leave.
These were some quick tricks to use body language in your favour and we hope that these would help you immensely. All the best for your interview!