Job interviews are golden opportunities to kick start a new career. As such, you should be well prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally to give the interview your best shot. This can be done by taking some time to review what you want to say in advance to help ward off anxiety and stress. While you’re at it, don’t neglect the importance of body language in helping to express who you are.
In a job interview setting, body language can be a very effective tool in communicating your professional standing. Body language not only entails your posture and making eye contact, but the way you sit, how you carry yourself, fidgeting, and the expressions on your face. The following offers some guidelines on how to use body language to your advantage during a job interview to make the good impression you desire.
Keep in mind that from the time you walk into your job interview to the time you leave, you will be on center stage. This is not a time to be fixing your hair, adjusting your tie or trying to pull down a skirt that’s a tad too short for the occasion. If you dress comfortably and suitably for your interview, you should be confident of having a good appearance. Any last minute adjustments should be made in the rest room before you enter the interviewer’s office. Once you have been ushered into the office, you should be fully prepared to greet your interviewer with eye contact, a confident handshake and a friendly “hello” as you introduce yourself with a smile.
The Interview: Stay Focused and Poised
Stay focused when answering job interview questions, keeping your responses in line with the question at hand. Some questions can be answered appropriately with concise and brief answers, while others require greater elaboration of your background, education, abilities, or skills. Job interviews are generally interactive in nature, not monologues. Be careful not to monopolize the conversation — give your interviewer time to speak his or her piece and listen attentively by making eye contact and acknowledging what he or she has to say.
During the course of the interview, your posture, facial expressions and hand gestures will speak just as loudly about you as the words coming out of your mouth. Do your best to sit still and poised, without fidgeting in your chair. While listening, keep your hands on your lap in a relaxed position. When talking, it’s acceptable to use your hands to express what you want to say, as long as maintain them under control. As much as possible, refrain from scratching any part of your body, rubbing your eyes, chin or nose, playing with your hair during an interview. These actions are distracting and unsuitable for the occasion.
Find a comfortable position to sit in and try to stay there for the duration of the interview. Crossing your legs is fine as long as you avoid leg swinging, foot tapping and repositioning yourself every few minutes. Crossing your arms across your chest while talking or listening is a definite no-no as it gives you an unfriendly and disengaging appearance. Never slouch during an interview or allow yourself to sink into your seat as it gives the impression you are either bored, or tired, or both.
Making a good first impression at a job interview is very important. Be sure to come dressed in an appropriate manner, present yourself politely, be attentive in body posture and manner and say farewell and exit the office in a professional manner. The right body language can make the difference between getting a desired job and getting passed over.
Joshua Turner is a writer and blogger who creates articles related to business. This article offers body language tips to job candidates and aims to encourage further study by becoming a Certified Behavior Analyst.
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Good luck in your search.