When you’re preparing for an interview, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about your answers, what you’re going to wear, and making sure you turn up on time. One of the most important aspects of any job interview is your body language. It’s easy to feel nervous, especially at this stage of your job search. Your body language is something that often happens unconsciously. You want to impress your potential employer by appearing confident and assured in yourself while showing that you’re engaged in the interview process.
We’re sharing nine body language tips to help you impress at your job interview.
1. Walk in confidently
Your body language is a vital part of forming the interviewer’s first impression of you. Most people form their opinion of you within the first 10 seconds of setting eyes on you. Walk confidently into the room, with your shoulders pulled back, and take even strides as you walk.
Look at the interviewer and walk directly towards them, keeping your body pointed in their direction while maintaining eye contact. But make sure you’re not staring, which can be off-putting. Try to hold eye contact for a few seconds at a time.
2. Sit straight in your seat
Nothing looks worse than when a candidate is slouching in their seat during an interview. Sitting up straight gives you a more confident appearance and shows that you’re alert and listening. You might start slouching in your seat out of habit, but this can create the impression that you’re not interested in what the interviewer has to say.
Sitting back in your seat can help keep your back straight and prevent you from leaning forward. If you find that you naturally slouch, pretend that there is a string pulling the crown of your head up to keep you straight.
3. Use your hands to speak
Your hands are one of your best communication tools. Speaking with your hands and moving them as you talk suggests openness. You want to avoid fiddling with your hands or waving them around too much while speaking, as this can come across as nervousness.
You might feel like you need to sit on your hands, but hiding them can often come across as distrustful. Fold your hands as the interviewer is talking, and then speak with your hands to articulate your point.
Open palm gestures make you appear trustworthy and can portray you as an honest individual. Part of the reason we shake hands is to see each other’s open palms. It’s a behavioural quirk tied to our survival instincts.
Whether you’re doing an interview in person or over Zoom, you want to stay positive throughout your meeting. Smiling shows that you’re comfortable with the interviewer. You want to avoid being too timid or over the top with your smile – keep it natural.
If the interview says something funny as an icebreaker, don’t be afraid to laugh. You want to use your body language as a way of signalling that you’re actively listening and engaging with what they’re saying.
5. Avoid moving around too much
If you’re nervous, you might be tempted to fidget or move around as you speak. When you squirm in your seat, it can look like you’re bored or growing impatient for the interview to finish. You should sit straight in your chair and fold your hands in your lap if you think you’re prone to fidgeting.
Be careful not to cross your arms or legs, as this can appear defensive and make you seem unapproachable. Relax your shoulders and face the interviewer. You want to use your body language to focus on the interviewer. It might take a little concentration to resist moving around in your seat, but staying still makes it easier for both you and the interviewer to concentrate.
6. Keep your feet on the ground
You want to keep your feet fixed firmly on the ground. Female candidates should avoid crossing their legs over their knees and instead cross their ankles. It’s easier to switch your legs around without being too obvious when you cross them at your ankles instead of your knees. Scientifically, it’s been proven that answering complex questions is easier when your feet are on the ground.
7. The mirror image trick
One of the greatest tips for body language during an interview is to become a mirror image of your interviewer. This advice doesn’t mean that you should imitate or mimic everything they do but rather copy their style of body language.
Your interviewer is the person who guides your interview, so you want to take your cues from them. Nod while they’re nodding and shift your posture as they do. You want to keep your body language professional throughout the interview.
8. Avoid touching your face
When you’re nervous, you may find yourself touching your face or rubbing your neck. Touching your face, messing with your hair or rubbing your nose can give the impression that you’re disinterested.
9. Take time and breathe deeply
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to breathe during your interview. Focusing on your breathing is one of the easiest ways to control your body language. When you’re asked a question, take a deep breath and speak on the exhale. A deep breath allows you to calm down and gives you a moment to think. Before you step into your interview, take ten deep breaths to reduce your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.
Your interview is the most significant step of your job search and can help you get on the employment ladder. Body language plays a crucial role in forming all-important first impressions. At Achēv, our Employment Ontario Services offers a wide range of resources to support your career and employment needs. Our employment centres are located across the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and North York. Contact us today to register for our free employment services.