It isn't unusual to get nervous before job interviews and to try to prepare your best responses to potential questions in advance. Your resume should set the tone, there are certain things that shouldn’t be included, you should not include your marital status for example. You may want to know that sometimes what you say is less important than how you say it. Your body language during a job interview can make it or break it for you.
Are you using body language to your advantage during your interviews? Are you conveying the right messages to your interviewer?
The following tips might help you improve your body language to bring you one step closer to the job of your dreams.
1. Carry Only One Bag
According to research, carrying more than one item makes you look messy and disorganized. If you are a guy, carry one small briefcase. If you're a girl, wear a bag that's big enough to fit your resume and your notes. Your coat can also make a difference. If possible, hand your coat and your hat to the receptionist or secretary before your interviewer sees you. This is an excellent non-verbal cue that you are sleek and sharp.
2. Check The Back Of Your Shoes Before The Interview
One of the findings of a study shows that female interviewers look at the back of all candidates' shoes. If you want to make a positive first impression, make sure that your shoes are perfectly buffed and that their soles are in great shape.
3. Choose The Right Moments To Smile
There's plenty of interview advice that says candidates should smile more during interviews. However, you need to pick the right moments to smile. Smiling too much may determine the interviewer to perceive you as weak and soft. According to many studies, people in leading positions only smile at the right time.
Start your meeting with a smile when you shake the hand of the person in front of you. Also, smile when you talk about your biggest passions and at the end of the meeting while you say goodbye to the interviewer. Women, particularly, tend to smile too much in such situations, in order to hide the fact that they are nervous. Beware, too much smiling will make you look less smart rather than more friendly.
4. Watch Your Posture
If possible, avoid sitting directly across your interviewer. A slight angle between your bodies will enable the other person to remember more of what you tell them. This is a finding resulting from research, so take it into consideration for your next job interviews.
5. Don't Spread And Don't Contract
Make sure that you take up just the right amount of space, no more, no less. When we are nervous, our body tends to contract, the shoulders go up while the neck goes down. Other things that make us look small are the crossing of the legs (for women) and the folding of the arms over the chest (for men). These postures show insecurities, so the interviewer might believe that you have something to hide. Acknowledge your posture and try to relax your arms and your feet.
However, don't spread too much, either. Taking too much space can be perceived as an aggressive attitude. Such postures include spreading your legs wide and draping an arm over the armchair.
Expert Bonus Tip: Some people grip the arms of their chair when they get nervous. Others clench their fists. These are signals that you're ready for war. Breathe in and allow your arms to relax and take a natural position.
6. Start As Soon As You Get Out Of Your Car
If possible, start applying your nonverbal tips early on, before even entering the building. Here's why you need to do this:
Managers, colleagues and interviewers might see you as you park your car in front of the building or as you enter the elevator. Since you only have one chance to make a first impression, you'd better make sure that's going to be a positive one. I've heard many stories of people meeting their interviewer in the elevator without knowing this.
7. Apply These Body Language Tips
Always remember how important body language can be for the outcome of an interview. When you rehearse, make sure you practice both your answers and your nonverbal communication.
Last but not least, step inside the room with self-confidence and be yourself no matter what. People easily pick up on not being genuine. Remember that they wouldn't have invited you for the interview if they didn't think you could be a good fit for their job opening.