Having the perfect answers to those job interview questions doesn’t always mean you’ll make a great impression.
Fact is, the words you say are only part of what the interviewer is assessing. Your body language is just as important as your verbal communication, if not more so.
Fortunately, there aren’t many hidden tricks that will trip you up here. Just keep the following body language tips in mind to make sure you’re only giving off positive vibes at your next job interview.
There’s a reason people stress the importance of a good handshake. As the first point of physical contact between you and the interviewer, it’s a golden opportunity to solidify a strong first impression.
The key here (as with most other points in this list) is to find the right balance. A weak, limp handshake will betray your lack of confidence. On the other hand, there’s no need to crush every bone in the interviewer’s hand, so loosen that grip a bit.
Just offer a firm, confident hand, matched with a winning smile. Shake their hand once or twice, then let go.
And make sure your hands aren’t sweaty.
2. Eye contact
Good eye contact is essential throughout the entire interview.
Maintain eye contact with your interviewer at all times when they are speaking to you, and carry this on while you are providing your answer. When it’s your turn to speak, divide your attention equally among the interviewers if there is more than one.
Don’t keep staring, however, as this can unsettle them. A good rule of thumb is to hold eye contact for about 10 seconds, before breaking off and re-establishing it.
(Tip: if you find it uncomfortable to hold eye contact for long, just look at their nose instead – it will have the same effect.)
Avoiding eye contact will make you come across as nervous or dishonest, so don’t look down at your feet or around the room.
Most people struggle to figure out what to do with their hands when they’re sitting down at an interview.
The key is to just be relaxed and make sure your hands aren’t being an unnecessary distraction. Keep them sitting loosely on your lap, or gently clasp them together on the table in front of you.
Gesture lightly with your hands when answering a question, as this will help you look more animated and enthusiastic. Don’t go overboard, however, as this can create a barrier between you and the interviewer.
And never, ever sit with your arms crossed in an interview.
Same deal here – it’s important to stay formal, but make sure you’re also relaxing a little!
Sit up straight, all the way back in your chair, with your shoulders up and open towards your interviewers. The mere act of sitting like this will make you feel more confident before you even start speaking.
At various points during the interview, lean in slightly towards the table – this will help the interviewer feel more intimate and connected with you.
Don’t hunch your shoulders (you’ll come across as lacking in confidence) or slouch (you’ll look arrogant, lazy, and/or disinterested).
Mirroring – do it right, and you’ll create a strong connection with your interviewer without them even realising it!
This simply involves copying the interviewer’s body language cues sporadically throughout the interview. If they start stiff but then relax as the interview progresses, do the same. If they shift posture slightly, make the same shift.
If they laugh, laugh with them.
Obviously, you don’t want to parrot their every move. Do this subtly however, and you’ll be subconsciously telling them you’re on the same page and agreeing with them.
What are your top body language tips for job interviews? Let us know in the comments below, and follow us on Facebook for more tips and advice.