As soon as you set foot into the interview room people will be making judgements about you. Scary thought, yes?
In the five seconds it takes you to move from the door to the interview chair the recruitment officer will have taken note of your initial body language and posture. Even if you feel nervous as hell on entering the room, have a big smile ready to hit them with!
It is true that you are being judged even before you get the chance to open your mouth. The interviewer will be picking up subtle little hints about you to form an overall picture of you in their head. Remember that things like a bright smile, your head held high, a firm handshake and good eye contact from your very first greeting will give a positive impression of you even before the questions start.
Practice perfect posture
Before the day of your interview arrives, try to practice good posture techniques at home and around your workplace so you can get used to it. When you are sitting in your interview it can be quite fatiguing to remember to sit up straight while you are trying to concentrate on answering the interview questions.
Also remember to lean forward while talking with people rather than sitting back. This shows you are attentive and are taking in what they are saying. Practice this one a lot before your interview. Flopping back in your chair during your interview may give off the impression that you are not paying attention and don’t have a very good attention span.
There are some very sound dos and do nots to follow during your interview with regard to your body language. Lets take a look at some of the key points to remember:
Do make good eye contact
The best way to show your interviewer that you are paying attention to their questions is to maintain good eye contact while they are talking. However, try not to take it to the extreme where you are blankly staring them out – this can be both unsettling and uncomfortable for the interviewer.
It is sometimes easier when there is more than one person on the interview panel. You will naturally be able to switch your gaze between each of them as they address you and ask you questions. But when you are in a one-to-one interview, try to hold eye contact while the interviewer is talking before breaking your gaze to compose your answer.
When you are being interviewed in front of a panel, be sure to make eye contact with all of them – even if some of those present don’t actually ask you any questions. It is good to acknowledge their presence, and you never know – it may even be the quiet ones who are making the final decision about hiring you!
Do not slouch
Sometimes we don’t realise how much we actually slouch. Whether it is at work or at home, lounging around with our arms and legs flung out all over the place can make you look far too relaxed. Sitting casually may be very comfortable and it may help you feel more relaxed during the interview, but it definitely gives off the impression that you may not really be all that bothered about this job opportunity.
On the other hand, you don’t want to be perched anxiously on the edge of your seat with your fists clenched tightly together either. It is all about finding that happy medium. Just remember to sit up straight and lean forward just a little towards your interviewer when you are asked a question. This posture shows you are engaged and open to their questions.
Try to hold a relaxed smile and give a small nod of acknowledgement to questions when appropriate. You definitely don’t want to come across as some sort of drone or robot, so if your interviewer tries to break the ice with a funny story or joke, laugh with them. You want to show that you do have a personality behind all your skills and qualifications. Employers tend to hire people that have a good mix of both skills and personality, so make sure you keep smiling.
Do not fidget
Fidgeting uncomfortably in your chair can show that you are bored or that you have lost interest in what is going on. Fidgeting can include things like, playing with your hair, biting your nails, tapping your fingers on the arms of the chair, scratching your head or touching your face. These things can be distracting for the interviewer and can often give off a feeling of lack of focus, mistrust or even dishonesty – things that can lose you the chance of that job.
Once you are a safe distance away from the building following your interview you can let yourself go! Have a mad run through the park, treat yourself to an ice-cream, grab a large coffee with your friends – give yourself some sort of treat or reward, you have definitely earned it!