Interviews: Body Language - A CV Centre Guide
If you have been selected for an interview, you have obviously impressed your potential employer - your next challenge is to maintain their positive perception of you in the interview stage. A good interviewer is trained to make an informed assessment of a candidate based not only on what they say but also on how they present themselves, and body language may prove to be a key factor in their decision-making process. It is therefore essential to come across as confident, enthusiastic and capable of rising to the challenge, even if you really feel terrified, negative and ready to run away!
There are a number of positive actions that can be used successfully in interview situations and these include:
- Eye Contact - this is essential when trying to convey trust and confidence but should not be overdone as this can create an uncomfortable atmosphere and suggest over familiarity
- Firm, Friendly Handshake - not too hard as this implies arrogance and not too limp because it suggests weakness
- Keep Your Chin Up (literally and metaphorically!) - smile with open lips and tilt your head slightly to show that you are attentive
- Palms Visible - this indicates openness and sincerity
- Touching Fingertips Together - this conveys a sense of authority
Here are some obvious - and some not so obvious - examples of negative traits and how your body language can give them away:
- Defensiveness - crossing your arms
- Boredom - feet tapping, looking down, slouching, head resting in hands
- Nervousness - locked ankles, fidgeting, playing with hair, biting nails
- Arrogance/Over Confidence - brisk and erect walk, hands clasped behind head
- Aggression - postures such as hands on hips and pointing with the index finger
- Doubt - rubbing eyes or nose
Try turning the tables on the interviewer and assessing their own body language - perhaps even try imitating them to strengthen any possible connection between you. However, try not to copy negative body language and remember to be subtle. If the interviewer thinks you are on their wavelength, they are likely to immediately become better disposed towards you. Also, their body language can give you a clear indication of what the interviewer thinks of what you are saying - if they are displaying signs of boredom, you should try to direct the subject away from your current line of thinking.
First impressions are extremely important and this applies not only to your body language but also to the way that you are dressed, etc. Interviewers can make decisions very quickly so make sure that you walk into that room as if you really want the job.
An interviewer is much more likely to look favourably on a candidate with whom they feel they have developed a rapport, so try to be friendly without being over-familiar.
When you are sitting down, if you are an extrovert, your toes will be pointing out and if you are an introvert, your toes will be pointing in! Or so they say!
Professional Interview Coaching
At The CV Centre, day in day out, we successfully coach our clients to truly excel at interview. This enables us to bring you the very best of what we have learnt - helping you to excel at interview yourself.
When it comes to interviews, people often think, "Well, I'll just turn up and be myself." Which is fine, but it won’t get you the job! You need to plan and prepare for an interview as you are still up against many other applicants and this is your key opportunity to make an impact. Your CV may get your foot in the door but you're on your own in the interview – and sometimes the most able candidate on paper can really shoot themselves in the foot when they actually get to the interview.
On average, there's likely to be at least 5 other candidates being interviewed for the same vacancy. So, everything else being equal, that gives you, at the most, a 20% chance of getting the job. But there's so much you can do to improve your odds of success.
Author: James Innes