by Tyler D. | 5 min read
Minor nonverbal signals make all the difference in how you present yourself, and they can bridge that narrow divide between a "no thanks" and an "offer." Since body language is all about balance, you must master the tricks that show you deserve the job...without appearing arrogant. When you're ready to put your best foot forward, follow these five simple steps to scoring the job of your dreams.
Your confident attitude should show when you walk in the door, but it needs to continue once you're both seated. You're probably nervous, excited, or both, but don't let those feelings get the best of you. Practice good posture; keep your back straight and settle firmly against the chair, head forward. Good posture gives a sense of natural assurance without going overboard; it's a simple move that speaks volumes.
Good body language for interviews invariably focuses on the hands, and with good reason. If you've ever felt nervous or uneasy, hiding your hands is a natural reaction. Many interviewees put them behind their backs or into their pockets, completely out of sight—both big-no-no's. Hiding your hands signals distrust, and it could invoke uneasiness in your interviewer. Instead, make your hands visible, including your palms. This signals openness, honesty and engagement in conversation, which signals the interviewer to become more open and trusting as well.
Beware of the pitfalls, however; using your hands too aggressively gives the perception that you're bragging, over-confident, or just over-the-top. We've all seen those commercials where the interviewee exaggerates every point with their gestures, and it has the reverse effect. When interviewers are distracted by movements, they're less likely to focus on words. Using your hands wisely is as simple as having them visible, palms up, and keeping your eyes on the prize.
Direct eye contact can be intimidating, and when you're nervous, it's easy for the eyes to slip out of focus. On the contrary, a strong stare can make the interviewer feel uncomfortable and distract from the process. Balance is key, and it helps both parties feel at ease. Instead of looking directly into your interviewer's eyes, focus on direct face contact; this makes you appear more interested and engaged. Rotate your focus to various aspects of the face every few seconds: first the eyes, then the nose, then the lips. This way, you're never staring directly at the interviewer for too long, and you'll never feel that nervous urge to look away.
Your interviewer needs to know that you understand the role and its responsibilities, so make him or her aware that you're paying attention. Does something stick out about the job, such as a skill you're well-versed in, or a project that you'd love? Nod your head. This subtle cue signifies that you're not only listening, but that you're mentally noting parts of the role that reign true for you. Don't go overboard, but nod your head occasionally while maintaining that face contact, and you'll show a strong sense of both interest and understanding. This also opens the door to elaborate on certain points you find most important.
Breathing deeply is paramount before an interview, helping to soothe your nerves and prepare for the hour ahead. Quality breathing doesn't have to stop once you arrive, however, as it increases control over nerves and boosts your sense of composure. Focus on soothing yourself throughout the process, inhaling deeply when you're asked a question, and exhaling as you answer. While you're listening, breathe slowly and deeply, continuing to inhale and exhale at a routine pace. This increases air flow, provides a welcome sense of calm, and enables you to feel more comfortable throughout the interview process. Rather than scrambling to think of ideas, your mind will feel more relaxed, enabling the words to flow more easily.
Job interviews can be intimidating, but with the right tricks in hand, they get substantially easier. Easy breathing, eye contact and positive posture are the foundations of good body language. When you foster in confidence, you'll be prepared to handle any questions thrown your way. Relax, prepare, and get ready. With these tips in hand, you've got this interview under control.