Everyone knows good interview preparation is key to succeeding in that first step to finding that new job. We all prepare for those tough interview questions to increase our chances of getting through to the next stage of the recruitment process. But how many of you focus on the importance of nonverbal communication?
Research shows that when we communicate feelings and attitudes, only a small percentage of our overall message comes from the words we use:
55% of our message comes from body language (especially from movements of the small muscles around the eye which can convey shock, disbelief, doubt, or disgust)
38% of our message comes from tone of voice
Only 7% of our message is conveyed by the words we use.
Here are 10 body language tips to help you succeed in your interview:
1 – Walk the walk
How you walk into an interview can speak volumes to an interviewer. To give an air of confidence, you should walk with pace (but not too fast or slow) with your head up and shoulders very slightly back. Be careful not to be too casual, you want to portray confidence, not arrogance!
2 – Sit up and back in your chair
A good posture shows assertiveness and eagerness. Research shows that sitting at a slight angle, rather than straight on and directly facing them allows you to take in more of what the interviewer is saying and lessens the feeling of intimidation and discomfort.
3 – Look at their face, not constant eye contact
We use our eyes as a level of communication with other people. We also avoid a direct look from another person if we have something to hide. Maintaining a good level of eye contact in an interview portrays sincerity. However, to avoid constantly drilling into the interviewer’s eyes, the most effective way to stay engaged is to look at different parts of someone’s face every two seconds, rotating from eyes to nose, to lips.
4 – Use your hands when speaking
Be careful not to cross your arms because that signals anger or a lack of openness. Your hands can be a very useful tool in an interview. They can help you emphasize key points; highlight your enthusiasm for a role, and show your belief and confidence in the points you are expressing. Open palms are often considered as signs of honesty and openness, traits that are very respectable to an interviewer but be careful not to use your hands too much as it can also be distracting.
5 – Keep your feet firmly grounded
You may think that because you’re sat down in an interview, no one looks at your feet. But keeping both feet firmly to the ground generally shows a lot more confidence than having your legs crossed. Sitting with both feet on the ground will also help you avoid any fidgeting which can be portrayed by the interviewer as nervousness.
6 – Breathe calmly
Remember to speak clearly, confidently, and at a good pace. Breathe. There’s an easy tendency to feel pressured to speed through your answers, but the best thing to do is listen to the question – pause – breathe – and deliver your response in a moderate speed and tone. This will help keep yourself calm as well as allowing your interviewer to take in your response.
7 – Nod whilst you listen
Nod when you want to encourage and hear more, signal an understanding, or when you are in grievance with your interviewer. Be careful though, nodding too much loses its effect, as with anything you do too repetitively, you just start portraying yourself as unconfident and phony.
8 – Lean in when speaking
Naturally, we all lean into a conversation when we’re passionate or engaged with the topic. Leaning in with your shoulders back and down demonstrates that you’re interested. With your posture being an important part of your non-verbal communication, this simple trick will help the interviewer see that you’re fully engaged.
9 – Mirror your interviewer
By matching your interviewer’s positive body language, you can quickly get on good terms with them. Mirroring is a way to bond and to build understanding. It’s a very powerful body language tool that we use instinctively without even being aware of it. The most obvious forms of mirroring are yawning and smiling – let’s hope the yawn doesn’t make an appearance!
10 – Smile
You want to show you have a personality and you’re paying attention to what’s being said. However, many of us smile when nervous, so be mindful not to overdo it! You want to smile when you first meet the person and shake their hand when you talk about subjects you are passionate about and at the end of the interview while saying goodbye.
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