So you’re confident you’ve done everything you need to prepare for the interview. Researched the company, thought about questions they will ask and you will ask them, planned what to wear and how you’ll get there.
Now, interview day has arrived and you’re understandably feeling a bit nervous. One thing you might not have thought about is that your body language tells an interviewer a lot more about you than you might think.
Do you like to receive a limp clammy handshake, get poor eye contact or talk to someone that can’t sit still? Probably not. It’s worth being aware of the pitfalls and doing all you can to make sure your body language leaves a positive impression. Read on for some common body language trip ups in interviews and what to do about them:
Shake hands confidently
Shake hands confidently and firmly without gripping too hard. If your hands tend to get clammy when you’re nervous, wash them in cold water beforehand. Shaking hands might be appropriate when you’re collected from reception and again with the interview panel members when you get to the room. You might also want to shake hands again at the end.
Make eye contact
Make eye contact both when you are listening and speaking. No-one expects you to stare at them for the entire interview but it’s a skill worth practising. And don’t forget not to focus all your eye contact on one individual if there is a panel of interviewers – they all deserve some attention.
When the interviewer is speaking to you, look like you are listening. Don’t play about with your clothes or jewellery, stare out the window or look bored. It might sound ridiculous, but take a look at yourself in the mirror when you’re next feeling bored – your face will give you away!
It’s very off-putting to speak to or listen to someone speaking when they are fidgeting in their chair. Don’t play with your pen, tap your fingers, or keep crossing and uncrossing your arms and legs. It’s fine to use your hands when you’re speaking to add emphasis to what you’re saying but a good idea to keep your hands in your lap the rest of the time. It can help to lightly hold your hands together. That way, you’ll be less likely to flap them around!
It’s worth practising these skills. They won’t take long to master and could be the difference between you and another candidate.