In a recent article featured on ABC News.com, a survey revealed that 55% of people are unhappy in their current jobs. This paired with our recent poll that showed 82% of readers would job hop in 2010 indicates that people are ready for a change in their work life. Based on these findings, competition may stay fierce as people look for new jobs. So, here are some tips to help you brush up on your nonverbal skills to ensure you outshine the competition and send all the right messages once you’ve landed an interview.
- Always Smile. When you first meet an interviewer, give them a big smile. A sincere smile communicates warmth and friendliness, and helps put everyone at ease. Also, it’s a great way to break the ice and help relieve any tension about the interview.
- Give a Firm Handshake. Extend your hand first to greet your interviewer. Doing so shows that you are a go-getter and you take the initiative – both of which are good qualities employers like to see. Be firm with your handshake, but not too firm. You don’t want to inflict any pain on your interviewer.
- Balance Eye Contact. Too little eye contact during an interview can give the impression that you lack confidence or have something you are trying to hide. Give too much eye contact, and you might be displaying aggression. During your interview, look the interviewer in the eye, but be sure to occasionally break eye contact at appropriate times.
- Lean Forward. When you sit down in the interview chair, don’t lean back too far. Instead, sit closer to the front of the chair and lean slightly forward to communicate your interest in the job. Leaning back may cause you to look too casual, making it hard for an interviewer to see your drive or passion.
- Be Aware of Your Arms. Crossed arms send the message that you are standoffish, insecure, defensive, and want others to stay away. During your interview, keep your arms relaxed on the table or in your lap to show that you are approachable and open.
- Control Your Nerves. Your nervousness can come across in an interview if you use excessive hand gestures or facial expressions, or if you are jittery. Its fine to use some gestures and facial expressions – especially if that is part of your personality – but just don’t overdo it. Tapping your fingers on the table, clicking a pen, or wiggling your feet and legs can be seen as a distraction, so try not to do them. Those cues could give the interviewer the impression that you don’t want to be there.
Now that you have these tips, try a practice interview to help you prepare for the real deal. Your nonverbals say a lot about who you are. They are part of the first impression that you make, and remember, a first impression is made quickly and you don’t get a second chance at it. Make the most of it and make it count!