Understanding the importance of Body Language in a job interview can determine whether you make it past a firm handshake & the first 30 seconds. Most of us can remember one, if not both, of our parents firmly whispering, “Sit Up! Stop Fidgeting!” during Sunday morning service when we were kids. Unbeknownst to Mom and Dad, they were training us for the very job interview which would set their little clones loose on society.
Body Language is something we rarely think about but use every day; so sit tall and try not to break eye contact during your interview. You have entered a No Sway Zone, find your childhood’s Keep Still longitude and stay there. While crossing your arms or putting your hands in your pockets can indicate things like being physically cold, in a job interview you may come across as being defensive, and uninterested in the conversation. You should also avoid touching your face or hair because this signals nervousness and a lack of confidence. Women often twirl their hair to relax, flirt, or because they are preoccupied with something, which sends the wrong message to a prospective employer. Many candidates will use hand gesturing when making a point; this is alright, but avoid any chopping or pointing which will disrupt the space between you and the interviewer and seem overly aggressive. Men will often use exaggerated hand gestures when explaining a talking point which I am most definitely guilty of.
If you want to improve your chances of success, practice entering and leaving a make-shift interview room. Have a friend or family member help you prepare for your interview. It is always better to have another person’s prospective on your Body Language. Always remember, the interview starts in the parking lot, you never know who is looking out the window and sizing you up.
(Revisited from a 2014 HR Post)