The good news is that body language can also help you to express confidence, enthusiasm, and reliability to the interviewer. Here are some tips to help you use your body language effectively in your next job interview.
1. Be open-minded and approachable.
One of the most important things to remember in a job interview is that you need to connect with your interviewer in an open, honest, and comfortable manner. When your body language is closed off or guarded, you may appear frightened or weak.
Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and a smile. Make eye contact in a way that conveys directness and politeness instead of aggressiveness. When you’re sitting, don’t cross your arms or put your hand under your chin, and make sure to keep your legs relaxed. You can fold your hands in front of you as long as you keep your arms loose and not stiff.
2. Focus and be attentive.
Always pay attention and show the interviewer that you’re excited about the position you’re applying for. Be sure to make him or her feel that you’re enjoying the conversation. When your body language conveys attentiveness, you’re revealing a real and deep interest in the job; this is flattering, and the interviewer will probably reciprocate your actions.
When the interviewer is asking questions, make him feel like he is the smartest and most fascinating person in the room by leaning forward once he starts to speak. Never play with your pen, hair, or fingers. Avoid distractions, maintain eye contact, and nod occasionally to show that you are listening. Respond positively, and provide cues that will make the interviewer understand that you’re following the conversation.
3. Be mindful of your negative emotions.
Keep an eye on your negative emotions, especially when talking about your previous jobs and bosses. Avoid eye-rolling and dismissive hand gestures or disrespectful facial expressions. Keep in mind that speaking ill of past experiences you’ve had is a no-no. Even if a former employer of yours was the worst, don’t express any negative thoughts; instead, focus the interviewer’s attention on your positive attributes.
When discussing sensitive topics, do your best to stay calm and keep a neutral voice and facial expression. This can be difficult, but do your best to stay calm and composed.
4. Avoid being defensive.
Potential employers don’t just conduct interviews to see how great you are; they’re also looking for signs of flaws and weaknesses. Hence, they might bring up issues such as short job tenures, inconsistencies, and resume gaps. When this happens, don’t take these questions personally; in other words, don’t get defensive. A response that shows any sign of defensiveness will only make things worse. In most cases, the interviewer is just asking for an explanation.
5. Don’t show any signs of aggressiveness.
Confidence is generally a good thing, but it can be taken too far. Never try to overpower your interviewer by attempting to control the conversation, making sudden interruptions, holding up your hand to signal that they should stop talking, hushing, or any other aggressive moves. These gestures only suggest that you are overconfident and possibly insecure, and that hiring you would only be bad for the company.
6. Mirror your interviewer’s body language.
I don’t recommend mimicking your interviewer’s body language too much, but mirroring his or her body language can be an effective technique if done correctly. The idea is to do it in a subtle way. For example, if the interviewer is very expressive with his or her hands, then you can choose to be expressive too, albeit to a lesser extent. Another example would be leaning forward; if the interviewer is leaning forward in his or her seat, then you might choose to lean forward too.
If you’re not sure how your body language appears to others, you can record yourself or ask a friend to coach you or practice with you and provide honest, constructive criticism. This, along with the 6 we just discussed, can enable you to use your body language to express confidence, enthusiasm, and determination in your next job interview.