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Body language speaks volumes about who you are and it can be the difference between success and failure. Here MD at Office Angels, David Clubb shares his top tips.
Choose a good position in the room. Interviews can often be conducted in oversized environments (e.g. a meeting room with a table for eight when there are only three of you). Make sure you choose a seat which enables you to see everyone without having to rotate your head too much. In most cases, it may be best to hover around to see which chairs the interviewers are aiming for, before making your selection.
If there is a window, choose a chair that faces it so that your face is lit from the front, unless there is good lighting all around.
Maintain a good posture. If you are being interviewed at a table, make sure that you are not sitting too close to it. As a guide if you let your arms fall loosely on the table in front of you, your elbows should be slightly off the edge. People who place their hands below the table come across as having something to hide. Plant both feet on the ground so that you remain stable. Keep yourself upright, with a slight forward slant and relax your shoulders. Avoid slouching, it implies a lack of confidence.
Don’t be afraid to ‘own the space’. Just because you are under observation, you shouldn’t hide in the corner. It’s okay to stand or sit with your legs slightly apart; in fact it’s a sign of confidence.
Limit your hand and arm movement. It’s okay to move your arms and hands around to express yourself. However make sure that such movements do not become distracting and take the focus away from your face. To achieve this, make sure that your movements are limited to the area directly in front of you, never higher than your chest, and never under the table. If your hands go outside towards the left or right, your interviewers will follow them and may stop concentrating on you. If you have a tendency to fidget in a distracting manner, intertwine your fingers and rest your hands on the table. Whatever you do, never cross your arms. It will make you look unreceptive, guarded and lacking in confidence.
Smile. A nervous smile is better than no smile at all. No one wants to recruit a grumpy person or someone who looks like they are not enjoying themselves. Good interviewers will understand that you may be nervous and will make attempts to put you at ease. Make sure you reward their efforts with an easy smile.
Maintain eye contact. If you do not make eye contact, you will come across as evasive and insecure. On the flip side, if you stare at people too much, you will make them insecure.
Beware of props. If you have a pen with you, avoid fiddling with it. It will only end up flying in the wrong direction. Similarly, if they offer you a drink, make sure that you can cope with it and that you won’t start crossing your legs half-way through the interview. Generally you should avoid picking up any drink if you can. Other than the fact that it may end up down your shirt, the movement of water in the glass will reveal how nervous you are.
Mirror the interviewer’s behaviour. Mirroring (i.e. acting similarly) to someone is an indication that there is a connection between you. It should happen automatically but you may be able to influence it too and give the interviewer the feeling that you are getting on. For example, if the interviewer is sitting back then you may want to sit back a little too; if he leans forward, you may lean
forward too. Be careful not to overdo it.
And relax… There is no point having brilliant body language if you actually don’t know what you’re talking about. Bear in mind that body language is a reflection of your level of confidence. It is important that you build your confidence up through good preparation and can go to the interview relaxed.
HOW TO IMPRESS