You’ve probably heard that first impressions count, but have you ever thought about how body language affects how people perceive you? Of course clothing, grooming, and the way you speak says a lot about who you are as a person, but body language says what you may not verbally.
Body language is extremely critical in first meetings and job interviews. How you carry yourself in a job interview says a lot about what image you will cast in the workplace. Think about it – you wouldn’t continue talking to someone who was slouched down in their chair with their arms crossed would you? This image sends the message that you’re uninterested or unfriendly.
To help you control your body language in job interviews, try these tips below.
Don’t slouch. Having poor posture is not only bad for your body, but it’s bad for your interviews. It gives the impression that you are lazy, uninterested and bored. Make sure you sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed. This will show that you are alert, attentive, and involved in the conversation taking place.
Make eye contact. Wandering eyes distract interviewers. If they’re trying to speak to you and your eyes are darting around the room, it looks like you aren’t paying attention. When you listen to someone, make sure you keep eye contact with them but avoid doing it aggressively by staring them down. Demonstrate your attentiveness by nodding your head to show you’re listening. If you glance down while jotting notes, make sure to reconnect by looking up often. When you are speaking, continue to make eye contact, but don’t stare. Let your eyes move around some to show your thought process, or look at other people who might be in the room. Making eye contact helps you gain trust while letting others know you are engaged in the conversation.
Don’t fidget. It’s important to control your nervous habits such as toe-tapping, fidgeting, finger-tapping, or wiggling. These are obvious signs of nervousness but they’re also very distracting. Also, you want to exhibit signs of confidence. Interviewers understand that potential employees may be nervous during interviews, but they also want to know that you can pull it together. To help calm your nerves, try taking a few deep breaths before you go in to your interview or even if you’re already in the room.
Sit properly. Along with great posture, make sure you’re sitting correctly. It’s good to sit up straight with your legs or ankles crossed or with both feet planted on the floor with legs together. This will work for both men and women. However, men who cross their legs should make sure their legs aren’t crossed to openly with their ankle on the knee. This is too informal. Your arms should be placed in your lap or on the table with your fingers intertwined. If you’re not used to sitting this way, practice in the mirror so it becomes second nature to you in the interview process.
Remember, your words aren’t the only thing speaking for you in an interview. Your body language speaks a thousand words and sometimes says what you don’t mean to say. So, try these tips the next time you’re in an interview and see the difference it makes. You’ll feel more confident and project your professionalism.