Displaying positive body language in an interview can have a distinct effect on how you are perceived by your prospective employer. Appearing too open can seem unprofessional, over-friendly or false, but closed off body language might make you look uninterested – something you certainly don’t want to be when you’re hoping to be offered a job.
Being yourself is always good advice, but it’s important to remember that in a professional environment like an interview, first impressions do count. If all your interviewer takes away from your first meeting is that you seemed bored, chances are they won’t be excited to invite you back for a second interview.
Improve your chances of a having a successful interview by following our do’s and don’ts:
Do (where possible):
Compose yourself before entering the building; take a few deep breaths to ensure you’ll speak slowly and steadily and you’re not out of breath
Do a last minute mirror check before going into the interview, just to make sure you look presentable (food in your teeth or smudged eyeliner shouldn’t technically harm your chances, but it’s probably better to look like you’ve made an effort!)
Greet your interviewer(s) by shaking their hand and making eye contact to show you’re willing to engage with them
- Sit up straight in your chair; interviews are professional meetings and slouching down can be perceived as informal or that you’re not taking the interview seriously or are bored
Try and sit in a position that allows you to face your interviewer, it makes it easier to keep eye contact and if you’re aligned physically, you unconsciously improve your chances of aligning mentally
- Smile and express your enthusiasm with positive gestures, such as nodding in agreement
Fidget, drum on the table, play with anything in your hands or jig your legs; you’ll seem distracted, nervous and eager to leave, as well as distracting the interviewer
Fold your arms across your chest; closing yourself off like this can look hostile and may show the interviewer that you’re not comfortable in the situation
Scratch or rub your head or body; these movements are associated with anxiety and your interviewer might mistake it for dishonesty rather than interview nerves
- Sit down before you’ve been invited to, it can seem presumptuous and ill-mannered (you want to look comfortable in your setting, but not like you’ve just made yourself at home)
Positive and open body language is engaging and inviting and, while your interviewer will hopefully be making an effort to make you feel at ease anyway, you’re more likely to give clear, concise responses if you’re feeling happy and relaxed. Sitting in an interview room with someone you’ve never met before can be extremely nerve-wracking, and it’s normal to feel a bit out of sorts, but remembering these positive body language techniques will help you to disguise any nerves you feel; don’t let them get the best of you!