We all know that first impressions are crucial, especially in a job interview. Studies have shown that people start forming an opinion of you in as little as one-tenth of a second. That’s not even enough time to say, “Hello.” However, your nonverbal cues may have over four times the impact over anything you may say. In fact, your interview body language is one of the first things that hiring managers see.
It’s a good idea to rehearse before the actual interview to check that you have applied the following body language hacks. Consider a service like Interview School that gives you a grade on how you answer authentic interview questions from real interviews from around the world. Our AI technology will provide you with feedback and help you build self-awareness about your body language. Here are some interview tips to improve your body language to make a strong first impression.
Interview Body Language:
Before the Interview
The interview starts before in the waiting room before your name is called. Walk into the building confident. In the waiting room, sit up straight and have good posture.
If you arrive early and have time to kill, don’t unpack your entire bag in the waiting room. The interviewer may come out earlier than expected. You wouldn’t want your potential employer to wait for you as you collect all your personal items again.
While you’re at it, place your briefcase or purse to the left side of your chair as you wait. If your interviewer comes out to shake your hand, you can use your left hand to grab and hold your bag at the same time. You’ll look efficient and collected.
Practice your body language:
Interview Body Language:
During the Interview
At this period, you may be so nervous that you’re shaking. It’s time to fake it until you make it.
As you start your interview, you’ll likely be offered a seat. If possible, choose a straight-backed chair. Couches and deep cushioned chairs make it difficult to maintain a professional sitting style without looking bored and overly comfortable.
Sit firmly with your back straight and lean forward slightly towards your interviewer. A strong sitting style indicates confidence and shows the interviewer that you’re interested and engaged, while a slouched position may make you seem unsure, introverted, or shy.
Right Amount of Eye Contact
A 2010 CareerBuilder survey found that 67 percent of surveyed hiring managers felt that a candidate’s lack of eye contact would make them less likely to hire them. This is not to be confused with direct constant eye contact, which may be considered creepy and unduly aggressive.
Instead, try to make “face contact.” Don’t keep direct eye contact for too long. Let your eyes wander and look at different parts of your interviewer’s face every few seconds. Of course, avoid the extremes – shifty eye movements or avoiding eye contact altogether.
Reflecting on how you smile and how often you smile may seem a bit like overkill. However, smiling too much and displaying too much emotion may cost you the job. Excessive smiling may cause others to view you as submissive, as opposed to a leader. For example, Professor Ketelaar from New Mexico State University found that people in positions of authority, don’t smile as much, but rather, smile at the right time.
Therefore, smile and nod at appropriate moments during the interview. This will help you seem strong and confident, while still displaying a friendly demeanor, which is essential for building rapport with your interviewer. It also demonstrates that you get along well with others, and would be an integral part of a future team.
Use hand gestures sparingly. If you naturally speak with your hands, feel free to gesture. Consciously stopping your body movements may look awkward. However, be careful about overdoing it and detracting from your words.
Avoid fidgeting with your hands or objects. It’s a telltale sign that you are nervous, anxious, and may have something to hide. A capable leader is calm, confident, and collected.
Plant Your Feet
Having both feet on the ground can help prevent your legs from fidgeting. If you choose to cross your legs, you may find yourself unknowingly switching sides – from left to right and right to left – often because your leg is falling asleep. This may make you seem uncomfortable and shifty.
In general, job candidates should plant both feet on the ground throughout the entire interview. For women, if you feel more comfortable crossing your legs, cross at the ankles rather than at the knee. Crossing at the ankles makes it less noticeable when you switch sides.
Interview Body Language:
After the Interview
As your discussion comes to a close, your interviewer may reach out to shake your head. Whether the handshake occurs at the beginning or the end of the interview, it is a critical part of making an excellent first impression.
A study from the Beckman Institute found that a firm handshake “increases the positive effect toward a favorable interaction, but it also diminishes the impact of a negative impression.” Endeavor to give a firm handshake while making eye contact and smiling. Remember to allow enough personal space between you and the interviewer.
Remember, your interviewer is assessing whether your resumé, personality, and skills line up with what the company is looking for. Your interview body language and nonverbal cues are helpful signals that show your confidence and competence.