When you’re preparing for an interview, you’re likely thinking of how you can impress the interviewer. You review your skills, your training, and your past experience. You’ll talk about all of them, and wow the interviewer!
All of that is important, of course. But something people don’t often think about can be nearly as important. It’s body language: how you move, sit, and present yourself. Here’s some tips about how it can make or break your interview.
Look interviewers in the eye
When you first meet the interviewers, look them directly in the eye. If you look away, or down at the ground, you can seem like a suspicious character — or overly shy. Looking people in the eye is a universal signal of being direct and forthright.
That said, don’t stare into their eyes during the interview. It’s normal to look around a bit. But do look in their face for the most part. It can seem as if you’re not paying attention if you don’t.
Many people find interviews anxiety-provoking. It may not even occur to them to smile. But it’s very important to smile at the interviewers. It gives the impression that you’re friendly and welcoming.
Smiling can also relax you. It sends a signal to your body that things are going to be okay.
Sit a reasonable distance away
In some interviews, you will be seated in a specific chair. In others, you might be asked to choose your own chair or to bring a chair over to the interview area.
Be sure to sit a reasonable distance away from the interviewer if the latter happens. Don’t sit very far away. That can’t seem distant, like you’re afraid of them or even that you wish you were out of the building! But, on the other hand, don’t sit too close either. That can seem overly aggressive, or like you’re crowding them.
Don’t cross your arms in front of you
When people are nervous or concerned, they often cross their arms in front of them. This can be unconscious, so you don’t realize you are doing it. It’s an attempt to be protective of your body.
But it can seem very negative to interviewers, as if you are barricading yourself from them. Keep your arms relaxed and at your sides.
Sit in a relaxed manner
It may seem like sitting is natural and there’s no wrong way to do it, right? But in fact, slouching significantly or sitting ramrod straight can both break your interview.
Slouching as you may do in front of the television set, for example, is too informal. But sitting overly straight can be look forced or overly nervous.
Be sure to sit with good, respectful posture. Crossing your legs is okay, but don’t swing your legs back and forth a lot.
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