First impressions are made quickly. Earlier we reported on how the very first sentence you say in a job interview can make or break your chance of getting hired. That’s because it is during your initial meeting and first conversation with an employer that their first impression of you is being formed.
At least you can plan for and control the very thing that you say. But what about the information that you don’t say? Your body language can communicate as much – if not more – than your words.
Here are six body language tips for your next interview
The handshake. Of course, your handshake is an important part of the first impression you make. Offer a firm handshake that shows confidence but isn’t macho and doesn’t crush your employer’s hand.
Don’t cross your arms and legs. Crossing your limbs can be interpreted as a defensive position, giving your prospective employer the impression that you are insecure in your abilities. (Instead, sit with your legs slightly apart and your arms at your sides. This gives the impression that you are self-confident. Use your hands and arms to gesture conversationally when you speak.)
Keep your hands, legs, and feet still. When not making subtle conversational gestures, hold your limbs still. Fidgeting tells the employer that you are nervous. Constant leg shaking, toe-tapping, or swiveling in your chair can be distracting.
Make eye contact, but don’t stare. This one can be a bit of a fine line. It is important to make eye contact with your interviewer, but over-staring can come across as creepy or aggressive. It’s okay to look away as you collect your thoughts.
Pay attention – and show that you are paying attention. A job interview is a conversation. You should be interested in what the employer has to say about the role and the company. Make eye contact, nod your head while the interviewer is talking, and actively listen to what they have to say. Think about questions and formulate conversational, relevant answers. Don’t just try to insert your pre-rehearsed talking points into the dialogue.
Smile. Smiling makes you look warmer and friendlier, and it actually makes you feel happier. You will come across as more approachable and likely perform better in the interview if you smile. (As with the eye contact, just don’t overdo it. You want to seem happy to be there and friendly, however, maintaining a constant grin on your face could just make you look insane.)
Of course, job interviews are serious business, and they can be nerve-wracking. However, one of the things employers are screening you for is whether you can be an effective communicator who comes across as friendly and approachable in stressful situations and who is confident in their abilities. You can demonstrate all of these essential traits by paying close attention to your body language.