An interview is not only for your potential future employer to ask you a series of questions, and ascertain whether or not you can do the job. It is also the one time that you can make that first impression as a confident, capable candidate. Your body language can make or break an interview. Following a few simple rules regarding how you act during an interview can help you to land the job you are after.
Prior to putting your body language techniques into action, there are a number of things to remember;
- Arrive early. This sounds obvious but make sure that you plan your route to the interview (including any public transport that may be required).
- If you are driving to the interview, make sure you are aware of available parking, either on site or nearby.
- Smarten yourself up prior to entering the offices where the interview is to be held. Even when speaking to the receptionist or security guard, a good first impression is important.
- Research the company prior to the interview. Read through the company history, product/service range, Directors names and even the company blog. Knowing too much isn’t a bad thing, not knowing enough is. LinkedIn is a great resource for researching current employees of the company too.
- When speaking to reception, speak clearly and give your name, the time of the interview and who it is with.
- Take a copy of your CV, application form (if applicable) and covering letter with you in case this is asked for.
- Remember to turn your mobile phone off during the time you are at the interviewer’s offices.
When meeting your interviewer for the first time;
- Stand straight, shoulders back and head held high – this portrays confidence and pride.
- Try not to speak in a high pitched tone as this will come across as nerves. Try to relax your voice prior to meeting the interviewer.
- Stand up and introduce yourself at the appropriate time.
- Give a firm (but not too firm) handshake.
- Maintain eye contact whilst raising your eyebrows slightly. This is a signal of recognition.
During the interview;
- Talk with your hands as well as your voice. This shows enthusiasm and can also help to illustrate a point you are trying to portray. Try not to overdo it though as this will be distracting to the interviewer.
- Maintain an open posture.
- Don’t fold your arms or slump in your chair – this makes you look both confrontational and uninterested.
- If you are being interviewed by more than one person, talk to all of them by switching eye contact from time to time.
- Lean towards the interviewer slightly as this shows interest and engagement.
- Nod when in agreement with a particular remark (not too much though, this can be annoying!). This will show that you are engaged and interested in the conversation.
- Answer clearly and try not to waffle. Answering the question is the important thing. Stay focused.
What not to do during an interview;
- Fold your arms.
- Rush your answers.
- Sit too close to the interviewer. Remember about personal space.
- Lean towards the exit.
- Cover your mouth or rub your nose whilst talking. This portrays dishonesty.
- Rub the back of your head or neck as this makes you look disinterested
What your interviewer is looking for in you:
- What are your drivers to achieve your goals?
- Can you manage your time effectively?
- Can you be depended upon in all situations?
- Are able to work without constant supervision?
- Are you enthusiastic and will you be easy to work alongside?
- Can you work well as part of a team?
- Can you use constructive criticism to improve your productivity?
The above should all be taken into consideration when writing your CV, speaking to people over the phone and during the interview. Conducting yourself correctly in both what you say and what you do during the interview process will greatly increase the chances of being a successful candidate.