No matter how many job interviews you go to, it’s normal to be nervous. The thought of marketing yourself to a total stranger can be quite daunting, especially since most of us don’t do enough job interviews to ever be completely comfortable with them.
Whether you’re applying for work at the local police association, at a restaurant, or a major corporate company, it can be stressful. There’s so much to consider – from what to wear to what you’ll say. But how often have you given any thought to your body language?
Body Language – Your Secret Weapon
A recent study has shown that employment in Australia has increased by 1,018,500 (8,4%) between May 2020 and August 2021. Essentially, that means a lot of people are going for job interviews daily. Many of these are school leavers or other people new to the job market.
Whether you’re having an in-person or online interview, it can be quite stressful. That said, the wrong type of body language could give off the wrong impression. Your nonverbal behaviour is as important as what you’re saying. Our experts have shared a few body language tips to help you ace your next interview.
Tip #1: Body Posture
Always pay attention to your body posture. Irrespective of whether you’re doing an in-person or online interview, slouching is always a big no-no. Not only does it show a lack of self-confidence, but it also implies a lack of respect for the interviewer.
A few other body posture tips include:
- Sitting upright on the edge of your chair displays positive body language
- If you’re having an in-person interview, don’t lean too close to the other person
- For a virtual interview, place the camera at a high level and be visible from the waist up
Tip#2: Don’t Fidget
Many people fidget when they’re nervous and these common nervous movements can be distracting. This applies to both in-person and virtual interviews.
Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Don’t bounce your leg: Even if your leg isn’t visible on camera, it will cause the rest of your body to move, and this is equally distracting
- Stop twirling your hair: No matter how long it’s taken you to do your hair, the interviewer doesn’t want to see you twirling it!
- Biting your lip: Many people bite or chew on their lips when they’re stressed. While doing it might be your way of dealing with your nerves, it’s very distracting.
- Avoid touching your face: Body language experts say that potential candidates who often touch their faces come across as dishonest. On the other hand, people who continuously rub their heads or neck look bored.
- Keep your hand still: Fold your hands neatly in front of you. Don’t pick at your clothes or fidget with papers or your resume.
Tip#3: Maintain Eye Contact
A common mistake interview candidates make is to look away or look down during an interview. If you’re naturally shy, you need to practice to break the habit because it doesn’t make a good impression to look anywhere but at the interviewer.
Eye contact tips to consider:
- For video interviews, look directly into the camera. Don’t look at yourself in the small block at the bottom of your screen. Look at the camera as if it’s the person who’s chatting to you.
- During face-to-face interviews, look at the interviewer without staring uncomfortably. Nod when appropriate and smile to show recognition of what’s being said.
- Maintaining adequate eye contact shows you appreciate the interviewer’s time as well as showing an interest in the subject matter. Poor eye contact on the other hand comes across as disinterest.
Tip#4: Be An Active Listener
One of the most crucial components of a successful interview boils down to how well you listen. There are two types of people in the world of listening – those who listen to reply and those who listen to understand. When you’re going for your interview, you need to be the latter.
Listen to your interviewer’s tone of voice, and nod to show that you’re understanding what’s said. Then you’ll know if it’s appropriate to talk or respond at any stage. Nodding and maintaining eye contact are non-verbal cues and show the other person that they still have your attention. Be sure to interject verbal affirmations such as, “I understand” or “I agree”.
Final Thought—Practice Makes Perfect
Remember, it only takes seven seconds to make a first impression. Creating a good first impression is as important in a virtual interview as it is during a face-to-face session. How? The best way to make sure your body language is on par is with extensive practice.
When you sit down with friends and family, practice sitting upright. Speak to them using active listening techniques and take note of your nervous little quirks like chewing your lip or twirling your hair. Ask a friend to tell you when you’re doing these things since many of us don’t realise we have nervous quirks. A few easy changes to the way you sit, speak and listen will help you be more at ease with your next interview—and get your dream job.