Fake it till you make it: 10 body language tips for your next job interview
In our contact with our candidates we prepare them the best way possible for their job interviews. A lot of the preparation goes into verbal communication, while non-verbal communication is just as (or perhaps even more) important. We all heard the expression that first impressions last. However, did you know that there is scientific evidence to back this notion up? Even before speaking one word, people (including recruiters and hiring managers) make up their minds about you. It seems that by the time the interviewer has greeted you, shaken your hand and shown you to your seat, they have already made a decision about you. In this article I will give you 10 tips to make a good first impression, using non-verbal communication to your advantage in your job interview.
- Social media presence
Even before getting to the interview, the interviewer will probably have already looked into your detailed personality profiles via Facebook and other social media channels. They will most likely also Google your name, so make sure you clean up your social media and check Google before applying.
- Be on time
Check before leaving if there are any traffic delays to make sure you arrive on time. Aim to be 10-15 minutes early, this way you will be prepared when you have trouble at the last minute and at the same time you give your interviewer a good impression being on time. Arriving late shows a lack of commitment, while arriving early can make you seem desperate. Add the companies phone number in your phone, just in case the unforeseen happens, you never know. If you are way too early, this is easily solved by waiting in your car or a nearby cafe.
- Dress to impress
Develop a professional interview wardrobe and ensure shoes are clean/polished and clothes are clean and pressed. For men a dark jeans, a blouse and neat shoes are a safe option (a blazer is optional). Woman have more options, as they can also opt for a (appropriate length) dress or skirt with a blouse combined with flats or heels (avoid open toe shoes). Often you can count that the more senior the position, the more formal the attire. When in doubt you can always ask the recruiter for the dress code.
- Greeting the interviewer
Make sure to provide a firm handshake as this will demonstrate conviction and confidence. A good handshake consists of three elements:
- Hold the person’s hand firmly, or at least match the pressure they apply
- Maintain eye contact while shaking hands
- Eye contact
By making eye contact you will be perceived as confident (as long as it's not the creepy variety). Greater eye contact is also associated with stronger leadership abilities, greater, intelligence, aggression and strength. Are there multiple interviewers present? Make sure to make eye contact with all of them. There is however a difference between cultures: while Westerners love heavy eye contact, some Asian cultures see eye contact as disrespectful. Click here to read more on “How eye contact works”.
Good posture suggests self-confidence. Whether you are standing or are seated, make sure to keep your back straight, stomach in, head up and shoulders back; never slouch or put your hands in your pocket or lean your head on your hands. When listening you can also slightly tilt your head and nod regularly , this will make you look engaged and alert.
In a job interview, your words and body language must send the right message. To instantly connect with your interviewer, try mirroring. Mirroring is an interviewing technique where you adopt another person’s behaviors, mannerisms, and ways of speaking. Be aware, Mirroring is NOT mimicking. To learn more about Mirroring read this article at Forbes Magazine.
You can show openness by keeping your torso straight and turned toward the interviewer to convey your positive energy. Also make sure you don’t cross your arms and legs, as this makes a more closed and defensive posture.
- Hand gestures
- Do’s: showing your palms, pressing the fingertips of your hands together
- Dont’s: hold your palms downward, hiding your hands (like putting them in your pocket), tap your fingers, fold your arms or overuse hand gestures
- Click here to see examples
And last but not least, make sure you smile. A great smile projects confidence and a radiant, energetic attitude that recruiters and hiring managers love. Of course you don’t need to smile constantly, smile natural and laugh only when the situation allows you to.
Most managers don’t make hiring decisions based solely on a candidate’s nonverbal communication, but they do use the cues to help them determine if a candidate will be a good cultural fit. To increase your chances of interview success use these these non-verbal communication tips to make your presentation stronger. Good luck!