Before a job interview, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to anticipate which common questions you’ll be asked and preparing winning responses to them. This is great and a key step you definitely don’t want to miss, but often times another important factor gets lost in the mix — body language.
During a job interview, it’s not just what you say that counts, it’s how you say it. You may give the exact responses the hiring manager wants to hear, but if your nonverbal cues are saying something else, your words will be irrelevant.
Do: Maintain Eye Contact
It’s unsettling to the interviewer when you shift your eyes from the floor to the wall and everywhere else in the room to avoid looking at them. Maintaining eye contact throughout the conversation is a sign of respect, as it shows you’re listening and engaged in the discussion. Don’t stare at the person, but do force yourself to hold their gaze for a few seconds before looking away.
Don’t: Cross Your Arms
When you’re nervous, you may have a natural inclination to cross your arms over your chest — kind of like a shield. This may feel a bit more comfortable, but it makes you appear defensive to the interviewer. Instead, relax your arms at your side, as this will make you seem friendlier and easier to talk to.
Do: Be Mindful of Your Posture
The way you carry your body speaks volumes about your level of confidence, so walk into the room with your shoulders held high and sit up straight during the interview. Slouching gives the impression that you’re timid and unsure of yourself, which certainly won’t impress anyone. Additionally, sprawling out in your chair makes it seem that you’re too relaxed, which in a job interview easily translates to smug and arrogant, which are equally unimpressive.
It’s only natural to be nervous in a job interview, but you need to do your best to hide it. Excessively bouncing your knee, wringing your hands and playing with your hair are red flags that you’re incredibly tense, which can be distracting to the interviewer. After the meeting, you want to stand out for the outstanding responses you gave, not because of your fidgeting.
Smiling probably comes natural to you, but when you have a million other things on your mind, it’s easy to forget. Avoid planting a fake smile on your face for the entire duration of the interview, as this will make you appear insincere, but do remember to smile a few times to showcase your pleasant demeanor and enthusiasm for the job.
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