When preparing for an interview, job candidates focus on researching the company, preparing answers for common interview questions, and having a professional appearance. All of these things are important. But there is one other key element of the job interview that many people overlook – body language.
Don’t underestimate the importance of body language. Some psychologists believe it is just as important as what a person is saying. How you move sends a powerful message. In fact, the first impression a person has of you is through your body language. When interviewing for a job, here are some important things to keep in mind about body language.
What Should I Know About Body Language Before an Interview?
1. Firm handshake
When you greet the interviewer, make sure you have a firm handshake. Look the person in the eye and smile when you greet him or her. A limp handshake will not make a good impression on a hiring manager. It is also important to smile and make eye contact to convey a confident demeanor.
One maneuver people sometimes use with the handshake is to turn their hand when grasping so that it is on top, another gesture meant to communicate enterprise and initiative.
Naturally, looking down or slumping in the chair is not going to communicate the kind of appearance you want to give at a job interview. Sit up straight, with just a slight forward lean to convey an air of energy and enthusiasm.
Try to imitate the body language of the interviewer because this will create a sense of connection.
3. Eye contact
Keep eye contact with the person when you are talking with him or her as this also conveys an air of poise and confidence. Turn your body so that you are directly facing the person when talking. From time to time, you should also avert your gaze briefly so that it doesn’t appear that you are staring at the person.
Watch your body movement during the interview. Avoid motions that manifest anxiety or nervousness, such as fidgeting, tapping fingers or feet, or fiddling with some object, like a pen. Don’t cross your arms because this is a sign of aloofness.
Gesturing occasionally is good, as it again shows enthusiasm, as long as it does not become too noticeable.
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