Body language dos and don’ts during an interview
The old adage 'it's not what you say, it's what you do' is very apt when it comes to job interviews. How you conduct yourself is as important as what comes out of your mouth.
Essentially, you are under scrutiny from the minute you step through the company's front door. From signing in at reception, to waiting for your interviewer to meet you - you are on display and are being watched. Never underestimate the power of a receptionist - they are very often asked for their first impressions of a candidate, so make sure you are polite, it will be reported!
Here at Direct Recruitment, before we take on potential candidates, we always invite them in to meet us face-to-face. Not only does this allow us to build a better picture of them, it means we can educate them in great interview body language before we let them loose on potential employers. With that in mind, here are some of our top body language tips.
Your handshake says a massive amount about you. As off-putting as a limp handshake is, breaking someone's hand isn't a good look either. A happy medium is what you are looking for in this instance.
When you first check-in at reception, make sure you look the person in the eye - we don't mean stare them down - and the same applies when you are shaking your potential employer's hand.
If there is more than one interviewer, ensure you make equal amounts of eye contact with both of them during your conversation. Make eye contact first with the person asking you the question, then turn and make eye contact with your second interviewer before switching back to the first again.
A pleasant smile goes a long way! It is ok to smile and nod and even laugh in appropriate placers during an interview - you want to show them that you are paying attention and that you have a personality.
Sit up straight
Slouching in your chair will make you seem disinterested and lazy. Sitting hunched forward, or sprawling with arms and legs everywhere has the effect of looking a little too relaxed. You don't want to sit there like a Victorian but nor do you want to portray a casual attitude either.
From the moment you arrive in the reception area, you need to keep your posture perfect. Always be aware of your body position and avoid angling yourself towards the door, it'll look like you're planning to hotfoot it out of there! Sit up straight and lean forwards a little when you're asked question, it gives a sense of curiosity and engagement.
Sit still and don't fidget in your chair. It will make you appear bored and disinterested. If you want to gain the trust of your potential employer, it is a good idea to mirror their body language to a certain extent - however do so sparingly - it isn't a game of Simon says!
Most importantly, be respectful and keep a professional, personal distance at all times. The first impression the interviewer has of you is most likely the one that will stick. Your aim is to always keep the focus on the conversation, so keep your expression interested, your posture confident and your head high from the moment you arrive until you leave.
When the interview is over, remember to bring it to a close in some way. Thank the interviewer/s for their time and ask them what the next steps will be. A final smile and handshake is just as important as the first.