Body Language Tips for a Successful Interview
When it comes to an interview, what you say with your body language is as important as the words you say. Though you may have practiced answering interview questions, carefully chosen your outfit for the interview, and read up on the company that you are hoping to be employed by, you might not have considered looking at your body language. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you display body language that encourages interviewers to hire you.
- Sit back in your seat
We don’t mean to lean back, as though you are lounging in front of the TV, but sit back in your chair and not on the edge of the seat. Make sure you are sitting comfortably with your spine against the back of the chair. Sitting on the edge of your seat makes you appear nervous or anxious. Sitting back in your chair gives you an air of confidence that will automatically impress interviewers. If you are worried about slouching, the best thing to do is pretend that there is a string on the top of your head that is pulling upwards. Another thing you can do is fold your hands in your lap when you aren’t talking – it’s surprisingly difficult to fold your hands in your lap when you are slouching.
- Avoid direct eye contact
Direct eye contact can be taken as very aggressive and confrontational in some situations. Instead, look at the face of the person who is talking to you. If there is more than one interviewer in the room, you should look between their faces when you are talking. Looking at the face shows you are paying attention without being overly intimidating. Looking at someone’s face means focusing on different parts of the face every few seconds (e.g. looking at the lips, then the nose, then the eyes, then the cheeks and then starting the rotation cycle again). This keeps eye contact to a minimum.
- When speaking, use hand gestures
Hand gestures are incredibly helpful if you’re nervous. Hand gestures keep you from fidgeting. They help make what you are saying seem more animated and will keep hands out of your pockets. If you aren’t comfortable with using hand gestures, then folding your hands in your lap is advisable as the interviewer(s) can still see your hands. Keeping your hands hidden may appear as if you are hiding something (other than your hands) and be viewed as distrustful behavior.
- It’s in the palm of your hands
People say that when you are speaking you should hold the audience in the palm of your hand. However, during an interview you should make sure the palms of your hands are visible. When your palms are facing upwards it signals honesty and engagement in the interview. It shows that you are not hiding anything and has the added advantage of making you appear energetic when it is combined with a smile and good posture.
- Keep your feet planted
Never cross your legs in an interview. It makes you appear guarded and defensive. Instead, keep your feet planted on the ground. Women should cross their legs at the ankles, not only is this better for the posture and your legs, but it is a much more dignified position to sit in and you can easily swap which way your ankles are crossed without drawing the attention of the interviewer.