Job interviews are all about communication. However, the words that come out of your mouth are only half of the story. You might not know it, but body language plays a huge part in engaging with others. Indeed, scientists have claimed that more than half of communication is visual rather than verbal.
With this in mind, it's important that you take some time to think about what messages your body is sending out ahead of your job interview. Bad body language has the potential to seriously undermine your chances of securing the position, even if you're saying all the right things verbally.
Not sure what represents good or bad body language? Read on to find out.
Smile; it's obvious but important. Interviewers are looking for someone who genuinely wants the job on offer and you need to show them that you're happy to be there. Smiling helps to build an instant rapport and make a good first impression. It's such an easy thing to do and will automatically give your chances a little boost.
It may sound cliched, but your handshake is an important part of the interview process. This is a subtle way to get things off to a good start and make a positive early impression.
There a number of handshake faux paus you need to avoid. Limp handshakes are never good as they suggest a lack of confidence, but you also don't want to go too far the other way and squeeze the interviewer's hand so tight it makes their eyes water. An ideal handshake is firm, but not too intense, and should always be accompanied with a smile. If you're worried your handshake might let you down, ask a friend or family member to help you practice and nail the perfect technique.
So you've got the initial contact out of the way and have headed through to start the interview. The body language symbols don't stop here though, as it's important to think about your posture throughout the process.
Sit up straight and avoid slouching, as this can make you seem disinterested, lazy or even arrogant. Try not to lean forwards too much either, as this can come across as aggressive and overly intense. The ideal posture you should be going for is natural and neutral.
For many of us, interviews are a nerve racking experience, there's no getting away from it. However, it's important to not let the nerves get the better of you and damage your chances of success.
Many people express nerves through fidgeting in some form or other. Whether it's wobbling your leg, touching your face, or fiddling with your hair, this sort of repetitive action can distract from what you're saying and make sure you stick in the interviewer's memory for the wrong reasons.
Maintaining eye contact is another interview essential. Of course, you should apply common sense - staring unblinkingly into the interviewer's eye for the entirety of the interview will make you seem odd at best and creepy at worst. However, it is important to look directly at the person you are speaking to, as avoiding eye contact suggests a lack of confidence and can also give the impression that you are being untruthful.
The vast majority of us use hand gestures while speaking without even realising it. This is perfectly natural, but there a few movements you should avoid to boost your interview chances. For example, pointing is never welcome and often comes across as rude and aggressive. A lack of movement can be a negative too. Sitting with your arms crossed suggests defensiveness and resistance, while having them behind your back can make you look stiff and uncomfortable.
Body language says a lot and if you can cut out any bad habits, your chances of interview success will get a boost. However, it's important to remember this is still just one piece of the puzzle and there are plenty of other things to think about when preparing for your next interview. Take a look at our video to learn more.