These interview body language tips have been created specifically to help you clinch the interview and go on to win more job offers. When you go to an interview, much more is going on than the interviewer asking questions and you answering them. The interviewer is looking and listening to try and work out if you are someone who will become a worthwhile addition to the organization – you should also be looking and listening to work out if the organization is right for you. The interviewer will do her best to put you at your ease so that you feel relaxed and therefore give of your best, they have certain techniques that they use to do this, so you need to have a few interview techniques up your sleeve too.
In this interview body language tips article, I’m going to talk about rapport; the crucial effect of eye contact, and the importance of the handshake. I also want to look at how you sit or stand and why you should forget about trying to look ‘cool’ because it can work against you.
Naturally, before going to an interview you should have some questions and answers already worked out, but don’t worry if you don’t get them all right, because the WAY you answer the questions carries a lot of weight with the interviewer.
As you know, rapport is just a feeling that you get when you are comfortable or at ease in the company of another person. The interviewer wants you to feel at ease – see above – and if you can give the impression that you are relaxed, the interviewer will feel that she is doing her job well and relax too. This takes a lot of tension out of the interview.
So how can you give the impression of being relaxed? This is where my interview body language tips come in.
Looking someone in the eye on greeting them for the first time is a great way to start building rapport. Avoiding the other person’s eyes sends out the wrong signals and can give the impression of ‘shiftiness’, dishonesty, having something to hide or lacking in confidence, so look the interviewer in the eye when you meet and throughout the interview. Never hold the eye contact for more than a few seconds as that seems a little hostile, but keep coming back and remaking the eye contact. At the end of the interview when saying goodbye, hold the contact for just a little longer and make sure you smile.
Always allow the interviewer to initiate the handshake, and respond by matching the interviewer in firmness, but do not give a firmer handshake than them. Make sure your palms are sweat-free, if necessary by drying them on your coat with a quick wipe, smile at the interviewer while shaking hands and look them in the eyes. It should last between two to five seconds. Since the visual sense is dominant for most people, eye contact is an especially important type of nonverbal communication. When departing the interview, the handshake may last longer and if you smile and lean forward as you shake hands the impression is longer lasting.
How You Sit Or Stand
The impression formed about you is largely dictated by how you act and by how you appear to be. The way you sit or stand is a very large part of that so you want to look relaxed and confident, but not cocky. Going back to rapport, it feels most comfortable when you are with someone who acts and sounds similar to yourself. Now, going back to rapport and my interview body language tips, if you sit or stand in a similar way to the interviewer, angle your body, cross your legs at the same time or lean forward when they do, they will feel the rapport between you. These simple techniques can change the whole interview as long as you are not too obvious about it. It’s sometimes called ‘mirroring’ by the body language experts and is something you can try out easily.
If you’re so conscious of looking ‘cool’ even in an interview, you run the risk of turning off the very person who can make the decision to hire you if their opinion of ‘cool’ is different from yours. Forget it for now and concentrate on being the person they want to hire; you can go back to being cool once you have been offered the job.
My interview body language tips should help to to understand what’s going on outside the questions and answers and by applying some of the techniques I’ve given you, should make a big difference to your success rate. Of course, you also need a great CV and cover letter to get a chance of being called for an interview and if you’re going to write your own CV, please take some time to understand why they are written in a certain way; my experience comes from years of recruiting people both as a Recruitment Consultant and as an employer, so I have seen and written thousands of CVs and know what is needed.
Peter Fisher is a Career Coach, successful CV writer and Webmaster for Your-Career-Change.com where you can discover all the interview body language tips and other interview techniques to help you to career success.