The majority of interview advice for jobs nearly always focuses on what you say and how good you are at answering questions.
But! Don’t forget we are all human and hiring managers aren’t necessarily paying full attention to your verbal answers. They’re also interested in how you deliver them and your personality. Do you look them in the eye? Do you fidget, play with your pen or fold your arms across your chest? All of these non-verbal cues end up being a part of the overall impression you make.
Your eye contact, handshake and posture can all help or hinder your chances of landing a job. Most hirers will be judging you on your performance within the first 5 minutes of the interview, so it’s important you can kick-off with a good impression.
Here’s some tips to help you prepare:
· Bad posture. Leaning back can seem lazy. Leaning forward can seem aggressive. Aim for a neutral posture to find the right balance
· Eye contact. We tend to feel uncomfortable holding the gaze of someone we don’t know. Staring can be rude, but try to look your interviewer in the eye when you are talking to them to show confidence in your answers
· Crossed arms. Folding your arms is a classic defensive pose and is normally associated with being resistant. Keeping your body language open shows that you are approachable and willing to take on board new ideas
· Fidgeting. Being restless and twirling your pen around your fingers is never a reassuring sign for interviewers. It’s natural to be a bit nervous, but too much fidgeting can indicate that you aren’t a focused person
· Mismatched expressions. If someone asks you what you are passionate about, and you tell them without looking passionate, you aren’t going to be convincing anybody anytime soon
But what about nerves?
Anxiety can cause many body-language issues. But doing your homework before a meeting can help ward off those nerves. Solid preparation is most likely to be able to help you stop fidgeting or looking unsure of yourself.
Practice your interview skills ahead of time with friends or family members. When you're finished, ask them for feedback on things like posture, your handshake and eye contact. If you record your practice sessions, you can identify any mistakes you're making unconsciously.
Also, having set answers mastered can be a huge help. Knowing your elevator pitch to respond to the “tell me about yourself” question can really help you relax. Similarly, having specific examples prepared to showcase your skills and experience will help you come across as confident.
Try and relax. Taking a few deep breaths prior to the interview can relieve some of the anxiety that leads to fidgeting and other nervous tics.
Read more of our interview tips and advice on our blog.