Savvy job seekers know that in order to be prepared for job interviews, they need to formulate and practice answers to common interview questions. Yet even the most polished answers will get you nowhere if your body language is problematic.
Studies estimate that about 65% of all communication is nonverbal – which means that hiring managers are evaluating you on much more than the content of your answers. Make sure that your body is projecting the same message as your words with these tips.
Preparing for a job interview can be tough. You must be confident, but not so confident that you appear arrogant. You must sell yourself without bragging about past accomplishments. At first, finding the right balance might seem impossible. However, you don’t have to rely on words alone. Body language goes a long way in communicating the type of person you are.
Here are 7 body language tips to help you nail your next job interview;
(1) Eliminate Nervous Habits
Most people have multiple nervous ticks they’re not even aware of. Some common ones are touching the face or hair, biting lips, and crossing arms. Keeping your hands busy might help if you’re naturally a fidgety person. Using hand gestures while you speak can make you seem more natural and at ease than keeping them clenched in your lap. Planting both feet on the ground can also curb the temptation to cross your legs.
(2) Practice Your Handshake
You want it to be firm without being too strong or too limp. Try practicing with a few friends until you find the right balance. When it’s time to greet your interviewer, offer your hand with your palm up. Showing your palms is a sign of vulnerability and openness, and it’s an effective way to start your interview on a positive note.
(3) Face Contact, Not Eye Contact
We’ve all heard how strong eye contact conveys confidence, but too much can be unsettling. So, what’s the secret to good eye contact? It’s not eye contact at all, but “face contact.” Rather than holding your interviewer’s gaze in an unbroken stare, shift your gaze to different areas of their face every few seconds. This will help you appear engaged in the conversation without making your interviewer uncomfortable. The eyes are the windows to your soul — and if your interviewers can’t see yours, they’re not going to feel any connection to you.
Even more troubling is the fact that by avoiding eye contact, you come across as not confident or even untrustworthy. No one will believe what you have to say if you can’t meet their eyes while saying it. From your perspective, maintaining good eye contact may seem difficult and uncomfortable because you may feel shy bragging about yourself to strangers. Overcome this tendency by practicing with a friend or with a mirror. Make sure that you can maintain good eye contact both while listening (to show that you’re paying attention) and while speaking (to project confidence). Additionally, if you are interviewed by multiple people, try to divide your eye contact evenly between them.
However, this can be carried too far. If you stare down your interviewers while barely blinking, you will come across as intimidating or creepy. Find a good balance.
(4) Pay Attention to Posture
If you’re offered a choice of seating, pick the uncomfortable, straight-backed chair over something padded or cushioned. The latter will tempt you to slouch. Sit up straight without leaning all the way back in your chair and keep your chin parallel to the ground.
(5) Nod and Lean Slightly Forward
Even with perfect posture, sitting as stiff as a statue can make your interviewer feel like they’re talking to a statue, too. Nodding and leaning forward ever so slightly gives off the impression that you’re paying attention to the conversation. Helping your interviewer feel understood and interesting will go a long way in leaving a good impression.
(6) Don’t Neglect the Exit
The worst thing to do after a successful interview is flubbing the exit. It’s your interviewer’s last chance to study your behavior. Offer your hand one more time. If you have multiple interviewers, try to offer a handshake to every person in the room. If there are more than three interviewers, a single handshake for the main interviewer is acceptable. Finally, make sure to walk away using a natural, even stride.
Job interviews are nerve-wracking for a reason. The stakes can be high, and the competition can be fierce. Being as prepared as possible is the only way you can truly set yourself up for success. Body language is just as important as having the right answers and a polished resume.
(7) Clear Vocal Tone and Enunciation
It sounds simple, but many people forget that your answers don’t count for anything if the interviewers can’t hear or understand you. Make sure that you speak loudly, precisely, and slowly enough to be clearly understood. Do not allow your nerves to make you whisper, mumble, or yammer.
Remember these 7 tips and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your dream career.
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