A face-to-face interview is an opportunity to impress your employer in person. It is essential to brush up your technical/subject knowledge, dress smartly and professionally on the big day and land up on time at the venue. However, is that all? If you believe these are all the boxes that need ticking and are the only tips to cracking any interview, think again.
People often tend to forget that communication doesn’t always entail verbal, written or even the listening part. Body language, an essential part of nonverbal communication, is one of the crucial elements in cracking interviews. Whether an employee is keen, uninterested, confident or nervous can easily be gauged by an observant interviewer.
Research indicates that 55% of all communication consists of body language. Knowingly or unknowingly we convey a lot of messages though our gestures, postures, facial expressions and eye movement. So the next time you appear for an interview, be sure to be mindful about a few little things that may win you half the battle if done correctly.
The First Impression
The very first thing that you should remember is to make an impressive entrance. Exchange pleasantries as soon as you enter the room and give a firm handshake to everyone present. Be seated only when you are asked to by the panel. Sit straight with your shoulders upright, head held high and feet on the ground. Avoiding assuming a slouching sitting position. Your arms should be on the sides or alternatively in your lap, and avoid keeping your arms folded as gives out a haughty impression. You may keep any folder or bag that you may be carrying on the table. If you are carrying a briefcase or a slightly bigger bag, keep it on the floor. Be comfortable and look relaxed, with a smile on your face.
Between snapping in the middle of a sentence and letting the asker finishing his question, you may have either landed the job or become just another rejected candidate. In their eagerness, there is general tendency of job seekers to jump to conclusions and start answering without completely understanding what the interviewer seeks to tell them. Acknowledge his statements by nodding your head lightly to show that you are interested in what he is saying.
Maintain Eye Contact
This does not mean you keep staring at the person in front. Remember to blink occasionally and not looking down on the floor or up at the ceiling while talking.
Effective Hand Gestures
Emphasizing a statement through hand gestures help you highlight a point and reinforce its importance during interviews. They play a key role in communication and their role is often focused on by life coaches and management trainers. While using your right hand indicates you’re giving out information, movements of your left hand are used to receive information. When you keep your palms open, you’re perceived as genuine and honest.
Don’t overdo these gestures though; they must be calculative, measured and kept under control. One must also be careful to not point fingers at the interviewer while speaking.
A few other gestures that you should completely avoid are putting your finger in the mouth or biting your nails or lips, as they will highlight your nervousness and anxiety. Similarly, rubbing your eyes, fidgeting or shaking your legs, or playing with your hair will reflect your lack of confidence. Similarly, looking at your watch or phone, frowning or yawning shows that you are feeling bored and are not interested in the conversation. Stay away from drumming your pen on the table or tapping your fingers, for this may distract the other person and is a sign of negative body language and lack of etiquettes.
When the interview is over, be polite and thank everyone present. Do not be in a rush to go out of the room. Make sure you stand with your spine erect as nobody likes to hire an inactive person. A polite “Thank you for your time” and “Hope to hear from you soon” with a smile is the perfect exit policy. Do not forget the mandatory hand shake. Thereafter, walk smartly and leave gently.
You can start practising using smooth hand gestures and etiquettes in a formal setting by using them in your regular daily life, while interacting with your family and friends. While it might be a challenge to let go of some of your habits that are formed over a lifetime, becoming aware of negative body language is the first step towards self-grooming. Overcoming them by attending interviews, interacting with professionals and observing their habits is essential to develop a pleasing and solid personality. It might take more than one unsuccessful effort to develop positive body language. However, once you achieve a fine balance, rest assured, it will be a major deciding factor in smoothly sailing through that coveted interview.