How you say something in an interview is just as important as what you say in that interview. This is something many would-be candidates have found out the hard way. You can be the most talented candidate for the interview, but even slight problems with your body language and posture can be disastrous for your career goals.
When you go for an interview, you need to keep one important thing in mind. The recruiters who called you in have already screened your resume from the dozens (if not hundreds) of other people who applied for the opening. They already know what your hard skill set and your experience are, which is why they shortlisted you for an interview in the first place. So that’s not where your focus should be, whether you were called in by third-party mortgage recruiters or in-house HR officials.
The Dos & Don’ts to Remember
Your focus should be on how you project yourself in the interview. You need to convince the interviewers that you have the character, intelligence, and confidence required for the job. One surefire way of doing this is through your body language in the interview. Your body language is one of the most concrete methods of conveying self-confidence, openness, friendliness, and integrity, which are all attributes that recruiters look for. Here are a few tips on specific body language cues and what they convey in an interview:
- Shaking the Interviewer’s Hand
2. Maintaining Posture
3. Body Cues to Avoid in an Interview
4. Body Cues to Do in an Interview
Let’s take a closer look at these tips below.
Shaking the Interviewer’s Hand
What is the first thing you do when you meet the interviewer? Obviously, you shake hands. A lot of first impressions are built on this very simple interaction between two people. People relate firm, strong handshakes with outgoing and confident individuals. Studies show that firmer handshakes do in fact lead to stronger hire recommendations from recruiters. Follow these three simple rules when it comes to first interview handshakes:
- Stand up to shake the interviewer’s hand.
- Keep a firm grip but don’t overdo it.
- Smile and maintain eye contact while you shake hands.
Your posture is another part of your body language that speaks volumes in an interview. If any of the following things apply to you, you may have failed more interviews because of them than you realize:
- Slouching in your seat during an interview.
- Fidgeting with objects.
- Avoid making eye contact with the interviewer.
Even if you don’t realize you’re making these mistakes, recruiters still see them. Remember, as humans, our brains are wired to pick up on body language cues. It doesn’t matter if you are the most qualified candidate for the job. Maintaining a poor posture during an interview is a sure way to fail.
Body Cues to Avoid in an Interview
You’ve probably already read a whole bunch of stuff on how to ace an interview. But many blogs, e-books, and seminars give too little weight to the things you ought to NOT be doing. Here are a few common body language mistakes to avoid, along with why you should avoid them:
- Not making eye contact gives the impression of discomfort or disinterest.
- Maintaining too much eye contact comes off as aggressive.
- Crossing your arms over your chest is a very defensive posture.
- Pursing your lips signifies dishonesty or disapproval.
- Slouching in your chair makes you appear disinterested.
- Fidgeting with objects makes you appear anxious.
Body Cues to Do in an Interview
Of course, it would be inconsiderate of us to just tell you what body cues to avoid during an interview. You also need to know what body cues can have a positive impact on the outcome of your interview. Here’s what you can do and why you should do it:
- Natural eye contact conveys an impression of interest in the process.
- You can appear open and frank when you sit with uncrossed arms or legs.
- Keeping your hands placidly on the table makes you appear honest.
- If you mirror your interviewer’s body language, you look receptive.
- Keeping a straight posture helps you appear more confident and powerful.
We have tried to give you as much information as possible on how important body language is to the successful outcome of a business interview. However, don’t panic by trying to absorb too much information at once. The important thing for an interview is to be relaxed. Just knowing what your body language says and what cues to avoid can be significantly helpful. No matter if you’re interviewed by an IT staffing firm or a mom-and-pop boutique store, these cues are uniformly important. They apply everywhere, so it pays off to know them.
Share any body language cues you have found helpful over the years in the comments below.