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Interview body language


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Interview body language

  1. 1. INTERVIEW BODY LANGUAGE Body language is a non-verbal form of communication. This involves communicating feelings, ideas through gestures or body movements rather than using words or other types of communication. With the depth and individuality of every form of body language, corporate people have learned to consider these other forms of communication as one way of assessing people, especially when applying for a job. In this way, interviewer can silently evaluate the applicants and decipher whatever they are trying to say through their actions/gestures. Since body language can be either voluntary or involuntary, their meanings may vary. One problem with body language is it may not convey what you really feel. Conversely, strong and effective body language can help establish an immediate rapport with your interviewer or employer signaling confidence in your message. Body language, or nonverbal communication, can let interviewers know more about you than what you tell them. "We have all experienced instances in which someone is saying one thing and their nonverbal communication says another. The best resume, the absolute best spoken words don't get an individual a job." There are many opportunities during a job interview to display bad - and good - nonverbal communication. However, in the social context, psychologists and sociologists have learned to decipher the meaning of each body language, thereby enabling some people to understand the message being sent by the other person. For this reason, experts say that people should be aware of their gestures or hand/eye movements, as these will put a great impact on their personality whenever they face other people especially during an interview. They should remember that in the interviews, employers are very meticulous on the way applicants react to the situation, on the way they answer the challenging questions, and on how they project themselves. In this way, employers can assess if such applicants can handle the job better than the others. While concentrating on your body language, don’t forget to pay attention to the interviewer's body language too! 1. HELLO: Some hiring managers claim they can spot a possible candidate for a job within 30 seconds or less, and while a lot of that has to do with the way you look, it's also in your body language. Don't walk in pulling up your pantyhose or readjusting your tie; pull yourself together before you stand up to greet the hiring manager or enter their office. Avoid a "dead fish" handshake and confidently -- but not too firmly -- grasp your interviewer's hand and make eye contact while saying hello. 2. HANDSHAKE:
  2. 2. Enter the interview by giving the interviewer(s) a firm handshake and look them in eyes when greeting them. Your interviewer's initial nonverbal impression of you comes through your first point of contact - the handshake. Your hands are clean, warm and reasonably free of perspiration. Firm, two to three shakes. Use only one hand and put your hand all the way into the interviewer's hand, with the palm up. A dry, firm hand shake reflects a strong personality and is what most employers are looking for. Limp, sweaty hands are definitely a no. This is the first body language in the interview that your interviewer will "read". So many people haven’t got the right ‘professional’ handshake. Remember that this is part of the first and last impression that you leave at the interview. If you have a weak, limp handshake then this tells the interviewer that you may not have the ability to deal with confrontation. On the other hand, if your handshake is too strong, then you may not be a good listener. You may be quite confident about controlling a situation, but you may be less likely to be democratic in approach. To demonstrate the happy medium, have a firm but not hard grip, make good eye contact at the same time and mirror the style of the person whose hand you are shaking. 3. EYE CONTACT: Maintain eye contact with the interviewer(s) when answering questions but don’t stare at them constantly. Eye contacts can also be a strong form of conveying emotions or feelings towards another person. In fact, experts say that eye contact can have a great impact on social manners. It can directly express one’s confidence and personality. During the interview, it is best to maintain a nice level of eye contact with the interviewer. This will bring out the confidence in a person. It can also build trust. Through eye contacts, interviewers can easily evaluate if the applicants are sure of themselves or if they are telling the truth. Once the trust is built, it would be easy for the applicants to manipulate the conversation and eventually get the job. Avoiding the other person’s eye contact will send signals that may end one’s future career. It could mean that the other person is guilty of something or is trying to avoid the truth. We have all heard that eye contact is important - it conveys confidence and respect - but too much eye contact can be bad, too. "You don't want to make eye contact for more than three or five seconds. It's too intense to sustain it the whole time - the key is make it, break it, make it, break it. Avoiding eye contact, especially while answering a question, can convey dishonesty. Good eye contact is essential and is an excellent way of conveying your interest in the job. Looking downwards or at anything other than the interviewer can make you appear disinterested and insincere. Maintaining good eye contact can also help you gauge the interviewer’s reaction to what you are. With panel interviews, the best advice is to look at and answer the person asking the questions, with a glance from time to time at the other interviewers. It’s all very well having good eye contact at your interview, but if your eyes aren’t looking bright and interested then you’re making life difficult for yourself! Make sure that you have a good night’s sleep before your interview. Remember –Interview is a very important day – you need to look your best and have no bags under your eyes! If you want your eyes to sparkle then it’s worthwhile getting some whitening eye drops. It doesn’t
  3. 3. cost much but it will work. During the job interview it is important to look at all the interview partners to an equal extent. By looking directly at the other person we are giving them a sign of trust. By looking directly at people we are also in control of the conversation. Looking directly at somebody or looking away actually serves as the dots and commas in our spoken sentences. When one of the committee members explains something or poses a question, keep looking at this person for as long as he or she is speaking. This shows that you're listening. While he is speaking he may also look at the other people, but every time he wants to emphasize something he will look at you again. You can then nod to encourage him to continue talking. At the end of his question, he will keep looking at you and then tilt his head up a little to invite you to give an answer. When you answer a question, you will look first at the person who posed the question, but while you answer you should take turns looking at the other interview partners as well. You should direct yourself again to the person who posed the question when you want to emphasize something and at the end of your answer. 4. SMILE: especially if the interviewer appears to be a sociable person. While you don't want to spend the entire interview with a smile on your face, occasionally smiling helps to show enthusiasm and interest. Some interviewers will be strictly business and might not appear sociable but an appropriate level of enthusiasm on your part can be very disarming and helpful. Maybe they're just having a bad day. You need to practice a strong, sincere, smile. A good smile has the power to say, “I’m a happy, confident person and I’d love to work here”. Try practicing smiling in a mirror. Practice a smile that puts people at ease. It’s just as much your responsibility to ensure that there is a relaxed atmosphere during the interview. 5. FACIAL EXPRESSIONS: Carry a warm and natural smile. Keep eye contact, but don't stare. Avoid pursed lips, faked cough, frowning, looking sideways or peering over your glasses. These signals may send the message that you are nervous or arrogant. Nod slowly. Rapid nodding sends a message that you are impatient and are eager to add something to the conversation. In essence, facial expressions are controlled forms of body language. However, since it involves feelings or sentiments, most often than not, they are spontaneous and instinctive. Then again, during the interview, it is best to control most of the facial expressions and express a pleasant one instead. Interviewers would like to see individuals who are eager to get the job and who can have a pleasant personality up front. It can only convey the applicants’ confidence with themselves. Insecure or unconfident persons would most likely be fidgety; and even if they will not say so, their actions speak louder
  4. 4. 6. SEATING: Remember to sit up straight and try not to fidget since it is generally perceived as a sign of nervousness. After the initial introduction you will usually be directed to take a seat. If you are left to choose a place yourself, choose a place from where you can clearly see all the interview participants, and from where they can also see you. Wait for the interviewer to direct you to a seat. If you feel uncomfortable, you may ask the interviewer:" Where would you like me to sit?" .Keep a personal space of 35-40 inches. Sit to the back of the chair with your back straight. Lean slight forward to show your interest in the conversation. Women should avoid crossed legs and instead. Men should avoid sitting with their legs too wide apart or with one ankle over the other knee. If someone is sitting half behind you, and you can't really see him, he may not get such a good impression of you because of this. Don’t tap your hands or feet or do anything else distracting. If you have several seating options to choose from, ask your interviewer for instructions - don't just assume and take a seat. How you sit, too, is as important as where you sit. If you are sitting on the edge of the seat it can make you look eager but also scared, like you are ready to bolt out of the room. "Go ahead and slide to the back of the chair and sit tall and straight. That will make you look confident and comfortable." Women should not cross their legs and instead sit with their knees together. Men should avoid sitting with their legs too wide apart or crossed with the ankle on top of the knee. Both of these positions convey a comfort level that's inappropriate to the job interview situation. Also, make sure you consistently maintain a comfortable space - about 3 feet - from your interviewer. Shortening that space can feel invasive and, again, inappropriately intimate. 7. HANDS: Avoid negative hand messages like running fingers through hair, biting fingernails, wringing hands, adjusting tie and touching nose or face, clasping hands behind head, rubbing back of neck. Be careful of what you do with your arms. You might simply rest your arms on the chair rests so that you don't accidentally fold them in front of you. Nervous hand habits, like nail biting, hair twirling and hand twitching, can distract the interviewer and convey nervousness and insecurity. You can sit with your hands clasped together or hold on to a small briefcase or organizer through the interview. Avoid steeping your fingers, particularly in an upright position, when answering a question. "This can be perceived as arrogant, saying 'I know more about this subject than you do. Just the same as when you are giving a presentation, many people often regard their hands as obstacles during a job interview rather than a useful means of communication. That is why people often ask what to do with their hands. In a difficult situation we are often inclined to fold our arms across our body. This helps to give us a more secure feeling. During a job interview it is
  5. 5. better not to do this, because folding your arms can be interpreted as a defensive move. It is better to let your hands lie loosely on your lap or place them on the armrests of your chair. From these positions it's also easy to support your words with hand gestures. 8. BODY POSTURE: Reflects energy, enthusiasm and self control. Stand and sit erect. Slouching does not reflect a positive attitude in interview body language. Nodding your head while speaking is a good way of supporting your words or adding meaning to them. Hand movements can also help to liven up the interview. Make sure that your legs are slightly apart if you’re a gent. Place your hands apart, on your thighs is good. Open body language is even more important when the interviewer is talking. It demonstrates that you are receptive to the question and actively listening. Remember when you practice your body language with a friend to take a note of what to do with each part of your body. Unless you do that – and remember – you’re leaving it to chance that your body language come across well at your job interview. The fact that you dare to make movements with your hands during an interview might indicate that you feel at ease quickly. In most cases it is better not to make too many hand movements at the start of the interview but add them slowly throughout the interview. As regards this, pay attention to your interview partners as well: if they use their hands a lot to make things clear, you can definitely do this as well. When they don't make many movements, it is better if you don't either. Just the same as with body posture, it is important to tune your movements to those of the other person. Also pay attention to inadvertent movements that you may make sometimes due to nervousness. For example, shuffling with your feet or kicking against the leg of a table can be very irritating for other people. Drumming with your fingers or clicking with a pen also won't be a great contribution to the interview. So pay attention! Move slowly and deliberately. Do not hurry any movement. Keep your shoulders back, smile and keep eye contact when appropriate. Sit up straight, and lean slightly forward in your chair. In addition to projecting interest and engagement in the interaction, aligning your body's position to that of the interviewer's shows admiration and agreement. Show your enthusiasm by keeping an interested expression. Nod and make positive gestures in moderation to avoid looking like a bobble head. Establish a comfortable amount of personal space between you and the interviewer. Invading personal space could make the interviewer feel uncomfortable and take the focus away from your conversation. Limit your application of colognes and perfumes. Invading aromas can arouse allergies. Being the candidate that gave the interviewer a headache isn't going to do anything in your favor. If you have more than one person interviewing you at once, make sure you briefly address both people with your gaze (without looking like a tennis spectator) and return your attention to the person who has asked you a question. Interruptions can happen. If they do, refrain from staring at your interviewer while they address their immediate business and motion your willingness to leave if they need privacy. Stand up and smile even if you are on a phone interview. Standing increases your level of alertness and allows you to become more engaged in the conversation.
  6. 6. 9. FIDGET: Simple - do not fidget. Avoid playing with you hair, clicking pens and the like. 10. GOODBYE: After a few well-thought-out questions and answers with your interviewer, it's almost over, but don't lose your cool just yet. Make sure your goodbye handshake is just as confident now as it was going in. Keep that going while you walk through the office building, into the elevator and onto the street. Once safely in your car, a cab or some other measurable safe distance from the scene of your interview, it's safe to let go. You may have aced it, but the last thing you want is some elaborate end-zone dance type of routine killing all your hard work at the last moment. People in the corporate world will unsurprisingly be inclined to accept innate forms of manners or conduct that are defensive instead of being frank, direct, and mutual. No wonder why sentiments are considered tough influences in the office and why the employer would normally act in response to condemnation or disapprovals. Most of these behaviors are readily recognized by other people. These include established ability to communicate completely and confidently, the ability to learn from errors and fiascos, and the fast and kind acknowledgment of the other colleagues. However, not all forms of communication can easily be recognized and comprehended. Other forms of communication need certain levels of acceptance and assessment, as well as detailed comprehension, in order to learn the real message behind them Collected by Abdul Gafoor