A key element for making the right first impression is body language, and we all know that first impressions are very important, especially in job interviews. According to research, first impressions determine how professional one is perceived. Candidates who build rapport at an interview by, for example, greeting people upon meeting them, often score higher on ratings of professional capabilities. This is so regardless of their true qualifications.
In a job interview, it is vital to be in control over your body language, meaning that you should be aware of the impression that you project. You may be giving all the right answers, but your body may be relaying a different message to the interviewer. Below are 10 body language errors to avoid in your next interview which you may not be aware of.
Don’t Make a Weak First Impression
Employers are said to be able to recognize the best candidate within 30 seconds. This is all determined by body language. Exude confidence but not arrogance. Step into the interview room wearing a smile. Make sure you do not fiddle with your clothes. When shaking hands, make sure your handshake is firm. Firm handshakes show that you are serious and mean business.
Avoid flaccid handshakes. Make sure your hands are dry and not sweaty. If they are, wipe them before going into the interview room.
Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face!
It has been estimated that, on average, a person touches their face between 2,000 and 3,000 times in a day! While quite normal, avoid touching your face too often during the interview because it may be distracting and show nervousness.
Avoid Doing ‘The Leg Wobble’
This involves jiggling one leg up and down under the table while seated. It may also take the form of crossing your legs and jiggling one foot.
The message you send when doing this is that you are nervous and cannot wait to leave.
Do Not Cross Your Arms
Crossing your arms portrays boredom, rigidity and closed-mindedness. Even if you find this posture comfortable, avoid it if possible during the job interview.
No Slouching, or Sitting Too Straight
Even if you are practicing good posture, sitting too straight shows that you are stiff and prim. This is definitely not the message you want to convey. You also don’t want to make them feel uneasy around you either. No one wants to work with someone who makes them feel uncomfortable! Relax and sit up straight, but not too stiffly.
Slouching also sends off the wrong signals. It makes you look lazy, messy and not motivated. Hardly the attributes employers look for in a new recruit.
Do Not Carry Too Many Things with You
You want to avoid distractions when you first meet the interviewer and also later on, when you answer questions. Bringing too many things with you at the interview will just distract you and the interviewer, in addition to potentially making you look clumsy if you drop, misplace or lose something.
Establish Eye Contact, but Don’t Stare
It is important to establish eye contact, but make sure you do this in moderation. When your eyes wander all over the room, you look like you are looking for the nearest exit! On the other hand, do not fix a laser-like gaze into the interviewer. If you are being interviewed by a panel, make eye contact with everyone in the room.
Check Those Hands
If you use your hands when talking to stress a point, this is okay and is part of who you are, but again, keep it in moderation. Keeping your gestures minimal shows that you are calm, in control, and focused.
Do Not Nod Too Often!
Most people believe nodding to show agreement with everything the interviewer says will portray them in a positive light. This, however, is actually not the case. It is good to nod sometimes when you genuinely agree with a point. However, nodding throughout regardless of what is being said makes you look too anxious to please.
Worse still, you may be inattentive and nod when a question is being asked! This will make you appear foolish. You should also not shake your head as you will be viewed as disagreeable and overbearing.
Keep a Polite Physical Distance
In most interviews, you are normally seated on one side of a desk and the interviewer on the other. This is the standard practice but you can change this arrangement. For instance, if you intentionally move your chair away from the desk and cross your legs, this puts more distance between you and the interviewer. This signals that you are nervous and distrustful.
If you bring your chair too close to the desk and lean over, you may seem intimidating and enter the interviewer’s personal space. So, it is advisable to keep a comfortable distance from the desk, with your upper body visible. This shows that you are open and have nothing to hide. Even if there is no desk, maintain the same rules.
What you say is important, but how you say it and the impression that you give are as well. Make a good first impression through positive body language and every word coming out of your mouth with suddenly sound better.
Best of luck!