We can say an awful lot without even opening our mouths. In fact, research shows that a huge 93% of communication is actually nonverbal.
When it comes to interviews, your body language is extremely important. It’s the difference between appearing confident or cocky and ambitious or anxious.
We spoke to Angela Podolsky, a body language, and non-verbal communication expert to find out the best ways to make sure you make a great first impression in your interview. Here’s what she had to say.
Creating positive body language starts first thing in the morning. Angela recommends preparing yourself mentally and physically as soon as you wake up.
”When you wake up, stretch yourself out…Don’t have your first conversation in the office. Have a conversation with yourself in the mirror if you don’t have anyone else to talk to. Make sure that the tone of your voice is confident.”
Greet the first person you see with a smile
Most people don’t realise that your job interview starts the minute you walk in the door. Always greet the receptionist with a warm smile and handshake. They are the first screeners in the company and will usually let the interviewer know which candidate is their favourite (sometimes unintentionally).
”Make sure that you greet people with a genuine smile. People can tell when a smile is fake. Think about positive things before you come in, whether that’s ice cream, your nephew or even your partner. This will allow you to create a real smile.”
Be on your best behaviour
Once you’re in the building where the interview is taking place, you are being judged. It’s as simple as that. Even in the waiting room, it’s important that you appear alert and open.
”Make sure that you sit down confidently while you’re in the waiting room because everything that you do is being considered. If the secretary or the interviewer comes out and you’re slouched in a chair instead of sitting up tall and confident then that is already a bad judgement that they will have made on you,” explains Angela.
Show those hands
Using your hands while you talk is a good thing (within reason). Angela recommends keeping your hands visible at all times during the interview.
”When you speak, make sure that you are showing the palms of your hands and not pointing your fingers or facing your palms down. Revealing the palm of your hand shows that you have nothing to hide. It shows that you’ve got all your cards on the table.”
If you’re not sure what to do with your hands or you’re prone to fidgeting, Angela recommends that you put them in a stable position, joining your fingers and thumbs together to create a triangle shape with your palms apart.
Plant those feet
It’s important that you sit in a comfortable position during the interview. Afterall, you could be in there for quite some time. To avoid restless legs put both feet flat on the floor.
”Your feet should be slightly apart and planted on the floor… Try not to cross your legs. If you do, make sure that you are not crossing your legs away from the interviewer.”
Don’t make barriers
”A lot of people, if they’ve been offered a coffee or a glass of water will tend to put it between them and the interviewer which will create a barrier,” explains Angela. Try to avoid this if you can. Make sure that your core is facing your interviewer at all times and avoid crossing your arms. This will help create a feeling of openness.
Match their eye contact
Eye contact can vary between cultures but Angela has an excellent rule of thumb to make sure that you use the correct amount.
”If the person in front of you creates 75% eye contact you should match that and maybe a little bit more,” she advises.
There’s also a difference between intense eye contact and soft eye contact so make sure that you look engaged, not angry. If you find eye contact awkward look at your interviewer in their third eye which is the space just between their eyebrows. They will never know the difference.
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