Whether or not you are aware, your body is sending signals all day. Your eye contact, how you shake hands with others or the way you carry yourself says a lot about you.
Here are some tips on body language to help you land that dream job.
Tip #1: Making Your Entry
Shakespeare wrote that the world is a stage, and all the people are merely actors. Take the cue that when you enter a room for that job interview, it is like making your entry upon the stage.
The cameras are rolling! First impressions count. And they do. In fact depending on the context, it is enough to make or break someone.
Please put on a smile when you enter a room where people are expecting you. It helps to break the ice. Smile like you are happy to be there. Smile regardless of your mood, or your feelings.
But don’t overdo the smiling. In some cases, the interviewers appear sombre (maybe they are tired after interviewing all day) and the atmosphere is tense.
But do remember to put on a smile, at least it will help to lighten the tension in yourself and the people around you.
Greet the People.
Remember to greet. Some manners won’t hurt. But again, as in smiling you do not have to do it explicitly or go all out.
I mean, you don’t have to shout “HELLO EVERYONE! I had a great time here today…” or other inappropriate antics which will only make yourself appear silly.
All eyes are already on you and you just need to accord some courtesy. Greetings also need not be verbal, as one can take a brief moment to stand still or walk slowly into the room while smiling and nodding at the interviewers.
Establish Eye Contact.
Remember to have eye contact. No, I don’t mean to stare so hard at the interviewer(s) that it becomes a “staring incident”.
Do relax your eyes from time to time and also remember to look around at the other people in the interview panel (even though they may not do the bulk of the talking).
This helps to create the notion that you also acknowledge their presence. My personal take is to smile if I notice someone else is gazing at me. At least that helps to convey a positive image and to ease the tension.
Tip #2: Project Self-Confidence
It is important to project self-confidence. Nothing puts people off more than meeting a person that lacks confidence. Ever remember the person who murmured so softly that you cannot make out what he/she was trying to say?
That’s the point. Such behaviour shows a lack of self-confidence and people are likely to ignore, forget or discredit the person.
Self-confidence can be derived partly from experience and familiarity, but in essence it is a state of mind which you can inculcate. Here are some tips on gaining self-confidence:
Research and Prepare For The Interview Well.
Read up and research about the company, the products and services, and whatever else you need to know about the position you are applying for.
It does not hurt to go the extra mile in finding out more, as it adds to your self-confidence.
Make Friends, Not Enemies.
Why would you burn bridges with anyone before you make friends with the person? Likewise, when facing an interview panel, you are not confronting your enemies. These people just want to find out more about you and vice versa.
Go in with an open mind.
Just like you expect to be treated with respect, likewise you should accord respect to the person you just met, or to the panel of interviewers.
I am not asking you to apple polish, but you should not say or do anything that makes the other person(s) feel “smaller” or slighted.
Tip #3: Appropriate Handshake
Now this is well known, but it needs reiteration. In my experience, I have found that men in general are more sensitive to the manner that we shake hands.
A lifeless or ‘dead fish’ handshake denotes lack of sincerity and will instantly cost you credibility points. Have a firm but not gripping handshake. With ladies, of course guys have to practice more gentleness.
Having said that, do not be surprised that some ladies may have a very firm handshake, especially towards other guys.
And again, don’t forget to smile and to have eye contact when you shake hands. If you look the other way, it simply means that you are telling the person that you either have something to hide or are not interested in meeting him or her.
Tip #4: Watch Your Posture
Your posture tells a lot about your state of mind and disposition towards a situation or subject at hand. Here are some advice to improve your posture when you are standing or sitting.
Do stand upright, but appear relaxed.
You should stand and make yourself as tall as possible, but relax your shoulders. Try to relax while maintaining a straight posture. Do not slouch as that leaves a poor impression.
Having said that, you are not in a parade square either, so there is no need to overdo it.
Sit up straight, but do not be rigid.
When you sit up straight, your non-verbal cues indicate interest to the topic that is being discussed. That is also projecting a positive self-image. But don’t be too stiff or too relaxed either.
I remembered an interview session where the interviewee was rigidly upright during the grilling, but when told to relax, he just went soft and slid down the sofa he was sitting in.
Perhaps there was too much tension for him and he needed to release it, but that is a poor posture to display to the interviewers.