First impressions are everything—especially in job interviews. Job interviews are short. You only have a limited amount of time to show your skills, personality, and qualifications. You will answer questions and sell yourself to the interviewer. It can be nerve wracking. You worry about speaking correctly. However, your body communicates louder than your words.
Body language, though unspoken, speaks volumes about who you are and how you feel. Interviewers often determine within the first thirty seconds whether or not they want to hire you. Interviewers are looking for confident, prepared, and polished individuals. What you say is important. But how you say it and how you present yourself are what really sells you.
As you walk into the building for the interview, greet everyone with a smile and good eye contact. These actions show respect for the business and the people already employed. When you go in for an interview, you are in a sense, invading other people’s territories and space. So be polite, but take control of the room. Be friendly and outgoing.
In the interview, be focused. Act interested. Lean slightly forward in your chair. This shows an eagerness to be there and to talk. It encourages interaction between you and the interviewer. Sit up straight. Sitting far back in your chair is unprofessional. It makes you appear lazy and unmotivated. React to the interviewer’s questions and comments with positive gestures and expressions. Nod your head and smile.
Watch your hands and arms. Crossing or folding your arms in front of you is closed body language. It makes you appear unfriendly, afraid, and disengaged. The interviewer will feel uncomfortable. If you are seated at a table or desk, don’t put your arms and hands all over it. Having your arms up on the table is overbearing. Never rest your head or chin on your hand or arm. Put your hands instead in your lap. This body position makes you appear calm, composed, and respectful. It is considered open body language. The interviewer will feel more comfortable asking you anything. Don’t leave your hands there the entire interview. Raise them to gesture when speaking. But put them back down to listen when the interviewer is speaking or asking questions.
Every interview is a little different. If more than one person is interviewing you, pay attention and give adequate eye contact to both individuals. But don’t race your eyes back and forth. Give the person who asked the question more eye contact when responding. If your interviewer is interrupted by a phone call, don’t stare and eavesdrop on the conversation. Be polite and motion that you could step out for a moment. If you are having an interview over the phone or through a video chat, body language is still important. Whether or not the interviewer can see you in person makes no difference. Correct body language affects how you think, speak, and act. If you follow the guidelines previously given you will be attentive and positive, no matter the interview type.
At the conclusion of the interview, be gracious. Thank the interviewer for their time. Shake their hand firmly. Don’t rush out of the building. Leave calmly. Smile at everyone you see. Don’t do a victory dance in the hall, elevator, or parking lot. Save that for your car or your home.
First impressions are everything in job interviews. Nonverbal body language communicates who you are and how you act. Show the interviewer you are confident and ready to work. Have good body language and be hired.