A job interview is a process of scrutiny where you are pitted against many capable candidates. In such a fierce and competitive scenario, each and every single aspect of the interview process should be prepared for.
Everything from your resume to the way you dress and carry yourself contributes to the outcome of an interview. You can have the best resume and a perfect attire, but if your body language shows lack of confidence you will fail to make a good impression.
Importance of Body Language
Most interviewers and recruiters tend to be expert para-language analysts. They can tell if you are afraid and they can tell if you are lying. Most importantly, they can tell if you can fit in the role and the environment.
While our body language is autonomous and caused by an emotional reaction, it is possible to control and improve it with a bit of effort. As a candidate, you need to make sure that your body language aligns with the way you describe yourself in your resume.
Employable Body Language
Handshake – Start off with a hand shake. Avoid a menacing ‘death-grip’ at all cost, unless it’s an interview for an arm wrestling competition. Also, avoid the lifeless handshake – moderation is the key. Be firm and confident, and read the cues emanating from the interviewer. If you feel like the interviewer is reluctant about a handshake, just give a warm smile.
If you are seated in the interview room before the interviewer arrives, predict the entrance and sit facing that direction. This will set a graceful first impression and induce a friendly atmosphere.
Eye Contact – This is one of the aspects many experts have mixed opinion upon. Some suggest that a few seconds eye contact is sufficient and the eye-lock for more than 5 seconds set an intimidating impression. Whereas, other suggest it should be almost unwavering. In essence, it depends on the situation and the conversation. Stay aware of the eye contact and anticipate the times you should shift your glance.
Posture – Your sitting posture says many things about you, hence have to actively manage yourself. Don’t slouch your shoulders or tuck your chin into your chest as it can make you seem closed off. No organization wants to hire an individual who is hard to approach and talk to. Keeping your back straight, but relaxed creates an affirmative air of confidence around you.
However, don’t get too comfortable. Throwing your arm around the chair or stretching your legs can make you seem unprofessional and arrogant.
Gestures – Gestures are an excellent way of portraying confidence and taking control of the conversation, but make sure your hands are not moving around excessively.
Never put your briefcase or laptop in your lap. It creates a sort of a border between you and the interviewer, which sets off a bad first impression. Instead, put your resume/folder on the table and keep the briefcase on the floor beside you.
Many hiring managers ask the receptionist for their feedback about certain candidates. Whenever you enter any business place, cheerfully greet the receptionist and everyone who initiates communication with you. This sets a very positive impression and makes you seem like a true team player.
In the end, make sure your exit is just as impressive as the entrance. Shun any negative thoughts you may have had due to the interviewer’s expressions and stay focused. Shake hands with reassuring eye contact and a pleasant smile. Nod and leave very calmly.