Ever met someone, shook hands and been greeted with a dead fish handshake? It leaves a lasting impression and can overshadow what a person has to say. That is why effective body language can be crucial in a job interview.
As pointed out at the website Lifehack, the beauty of body language tips is they can be incorporated immediately. There’s no need to take a class or even hire a beauty consultant.
A firm handshake. It’s an instant deal breaker for lots of folks. Be firm but not strangling. Also, respond to the other person’s handshake, which is especially important when shaking the opposite gender’s hand. Don’t squeeze.
Eye contact is important says Lifehack. Simply put, you need to maintain it during the interview. Don’t look out the window. Don’t look at your hands. Look at the interviewer. Eye contact demonstrates you’re paying attention.
Forbes.com interviewed a charisma coach. (That must be a tough job interview when it comes to body language.) She said, “Don’t stare, but try to hold your interviewers gaze for one extra second before breaking away.”
Also, avoid looking upwards. To some folks that suggests you might be holding the truth in low regard. It can also project a lack of confidence, too.
Keep your palms down – I’ll admit that’s one I never heard before. Basically, keep them down on a table, counter, or podium to convey leadership.
Act in synchrony – Mirror the person conducting the interview. When they smile, you smile. But don’t mimic them. Do it subtly.
As Forbes points out – control your body language. “Sometimes we undermine how powerful or in focus we are by nodding like a bobble-head doll,” says the aforementioned charisma coach Cynthia Burnham, a habit that’s particularly common in women. “Nod once or twice with a smile of agreement. But find your still center and stay there.”
Wide stance – this goes along with handshake. When talking on your feet, as you might do at the beginning or end of an interview, stand with your feet apart. It makes you talk better.
Keep an open body – don’t cross your arms, slouch or otherwise shut yourself off. Appear receptive. Also, if you are carrying a purse, put it on the floor. Holding it during an interview creates a barrier. As Forbes.com observes, “Leaning back is lazy or arrogant, leaning forward is aggressive and slouching is just lazy.”
It’s almost as if you’re trying to balance a book on your head. You won’t be able to by leaning forward or backward.
Smile sincerely – this is one worth practicing in a mirror. It’s important to smile with your eyes, too.
Don’t fidget – this includes chewing fingernails or twirling hair. “Stop fidgeting!” says Amanda Augustine of TheLadders in the Forbes piece. “The nervous energy will distract the interviewer. You want [him or her] focused on what you have to say, not the coins jingling in your pocket or the hangnail on your finger.”
PRDaily.com, in an article called “How To Speak Body Language During an Interview,” says, “Your hands will want to do distracting things during an interview. So let them. But little things—not big things. Keep them low, no higher than your chest, and move them naturally to express yourself. It can be a useful release of nervous energy.”
U.S. News & World Report offers this handy advice, too. “While you don’t want to be as obvious as sitting on your hands, you do want to curb your hand action. Do your best to clasp your hands in your lap, and if you find yourself waving them around, bring them back to home base.”