Body Language Tips for Your Upcoming Interview
Do you remember Freddie Mercury screaming out “body language” in Queen’s 1982 hit? Although I am dating myself, there is a timeless truth when it comes to interviews — it is all about body language.
How do you come across when you interview? What should you wear to an interview? How should you prepare for an interview? You have 15 seconds to make an impression on your potential new employer and you want to get it right.
Here are some body language tips I recommend as you prepare for your next interview.
Make good eye contact. If you are staring at the floor or the ceiling, your interviewer may find you aloof, bored, or lacking in confidence, and your interview will probably not be a long one. If you have a disability and find eye contact challenging, then inform your interviewer beforehand. Otherwise the impression you leave will be that you really want to be somewhere else — and that is likely where you will end up!
2. Don’t Slouch
Not only is bad posture unhealthy, but it will give the potential employer the impression you just don’t care and are simply disinterested. The company didn’t have to call you in. So sit up and give the interviewer your full attention. You got this far in the process — this is not the time to slouch!
Questions are part of an interview, but “why are you spinning your pen?” shouldn’t be one of them. Interviews can make anyone nervous, including myself! But nerves are good sign before an interview. Butterflies indicate a positive outcome is important to you. Take a deep breath and keep your hands and arms on the table. Practice this at home. Have a a friend interview you and see how long you can maintain your steady composure. Practice makes perfect!
4. Be on Time.
You were late for your interview?! This will not bode well and your body language will show you are stressed because of it. You will be starting off at a disadvantage. Poor punctuality makes for a terrible first impression. Let’s face it, if you cannot show up to your interview on time, an employer will view your tardiness as a potential sign of things to come. Respect your potential employer and be on time!
5. Never Check the Time
Speaking of time, never check the time during your interview and always allow for 45 to 60 extra minutes. Interviews don’t always happen on time, and they can run over as the interviewer wants to learn more about you. If you are constantly checking your watch or phone, this is bad body language and it will give the impression that you want to be somewhere else. So if you have to, simply don’t wear a watch and don’t bring your phone into the interview.
There is great debate over this. In my view, there is no debate. Call me old school, but a firm handshake says confidence and the ability to get the job done whereas a wet and weak handshake says “here’s my dead pet fish”. If you need practice, then ask a friend or family member to help you with this.
7. Crossing Your Arms
This can be so hard to resist during a meeting, but crossing your arms is a real body language no-no. Crossed arms send a message that you are defensive or standoffish. Try keeping your arms at your side or bring a notepad and ask your interviewer if you can take notes. This will show interest in the role!
8. Smile, Why Don’t You?
Frowning is sadly bad body language. You may not like to smile, but frowning conveys unhappiness or dissatisfaction. Or maybe your interviewer will interpret your frown as a sign of a humourless personality. No one wants to hire a grump! Practice smiling in the mirror for long periods of time at home. It’a good habit, if feels good, and it will help your interview go well!
9. Tapping Your Feet
I love to tap my feet to a good song, but doing so during an interview is definitely bad body language. Try to remain still and keep your feet spread nicely apart during your meeting. Otherwise, the interviewer may just have to call in the band to play to your song, but by then the interview may be over and you maybe singing the blues.
10. Dress for Success
I have saved the best for last. You might ask what your clothing has to do with body language? Well, I can’t count the number of interviews I have conducted where candidates show up looking like that are ready for a day at the park! Shorts, T-shirts, and mustard stains may work on Instagram or Snap Chat, but in most workplaces this will only broadcast that your judgment is as bad as your eating skills. So it goes without saying, “dress for success”! If you’re unsure what to wear, just ask the person arranging the interview.
So when preparing for your next interview, remember some of these key body language tips as they will assist you. During your interview you are going to be “Under Pressure” and you will need to exude that “Kind of Magic” that your new employer will want to see. If you don’t have confident “Body Language” during your next interview, you might be one of those candidates that “bites the dust” from the hiring process.
Maurice Scott is a Talent Acquisition Consultant and can be found on LinkedIn.