Job interviews are notorious tightrope walks. You want to be confident, but not obnoxious; intelligent but not a know-it-all. Trying to find a balance and also explain why you deserve a job is hard enough. But what if your body language could help you out.
Career experts have long analyzed body movement as a way to determine a person’s character. Let us learn what kind of body language is vital.
Body language is a type of a nonverbal communication in which physical behaviors, as opposed to words, are used to express or convey the information. Such behavior includes facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space.
1. Sit all the way back in your seat.
Sit firmly and lean your back straight against the chair. It’s an automatic signal of assurance and confidence. If you’re a natural sloucher, pretend there’s a string pulling you up from the crown of your head.
2. Don’t go for direct eye contact.
A more effective way to ensure you look interested and engaged is to look different parts of someone’s face every two seconds, rotating from eyes, to nose, to lips, so you’re never just drilling into the interviewer’s eyes.
3. Use hand gestures while speaking.
If you’re not sure what to do with your hands, go ahead and gesture while speaking. When you’re really nervous, you tend to want to hide your hands because they express your anxiety. Keeping your hands hidden can be misinterpreted as distrustful behavior.
4. Show your palms.
When your palms are up, it signals honesty and engagement. It’s one of the reasons we shake hands, to show the open palm. In general, upward-facing body language, such as open palms, smiles and straight posture, also makes you look energetic.
- Plant your feet on the ground.
There’s also a scientific benefit to keeping your feet grounded.
“It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult to answer highly complex questions unless both of your feet are on the ground,” Wood says. “It has to do with being able to go back and forth easily between the limbic reptilian brain to the neocortex brain.”
6. Work on your walk.
Interviewers often make a hiring judgment within the first 10 seconds of meeting you. How you walk into the room is a part of that judgment.
Shoulders pulled back and neck elongated, each stride should be roughly one to two feet wide. Walk directly toward the person you are meeting with every body part pointing in his direction, maintaining eye contact with occasional breaks to the side.
7. Breathe deeply, and speak on the exhale.
One way to soothe interview nerves is to breathe properly. The most recommended way is inhaling when the interviewer asks you a question, then speaking on the exhale, following the air flow.
Deep breathing engages our parasympathetic reaction, which calms us down. It is recommended to take 10 deep, diaphragmatic breaths before the interview, because it reduces our heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormone level.
8. Nod your head while listening.
Aside from keeping eye and face contact, nodding your head while listening is an additional way to show attentiveness.Nod your head occasionally to let them know you are enjoying and understand what is being said.
9. Lean in.
Leaning in is a natural thing to do when you’re engaged in a conversation. Leaning slightly forward (keeping your shoulders back and down, and your chest high) demonstrates interest.
“Your posture is an integral part of your nonverbal conversation.”