By Naishadh Gadani
Many of us experience different sensations when confronting our challenges and one of them is an important job interview. You could be one who feels your heart racing, a tightening of the chest and in fact, plain scared! However, like any other challenge, being prepared is the answer for success and having a confident and naturally professional body language is a significant step in the right direction.
You may have the ability to say the right things at the right times, but another old and well tested saying is that it’s not what you say, but how you say it! Body language can reveal any inner nervousness, tensions, insecurity and even a bluff, no matter how great a talker you are. This is a language that can blow your credibility for a job, right out the door of no return.
If you want to communicate to an interviewer a genuine, inherent confidence, professionalism and positive, emotional indicators, read on!
Body language speaks louder than words
In a study conducted with Harvard University undergraduates; they viewed various video clips of candidates from the past 58 gubernatorial elections. The candidates were unfamiliar to them, but they consistently selected the winning candidate, although they were unable to hear a single spoken word from them. The answer was that the selections were made solely on body language. This was confirmed by the fact that when the under-grads could hear, their selection reverted to, chance prediction.
It is not by chance however, that various hiring professionals claim they can determine a potential job candidate within 30 seconds. Appearance is a part of your body language and that first instant of meeting, sends an immediate impression to the interviewer. If you are a woman and you walk in adjusting your hair, or a man adjusting your clothing, this will be remembered. Therefore, before any greeting occurs, be ready, in every respect.
A smile doesn’t cost you anything
A smile is a huge influencer towards liking a person, as shown by great smile experts like Obama, George Clooney and Giuliani, who is the only one who regularly gives a full-faced smile.
There is nothing worse than a “lifeless” handshake. Your handshake should be firm and confident, but a bone cruncher does not impress. As you grasp the hand of your interviewer, make it firm, assured, with eye contact during the greeting. The eye contact combined with your handshake, give a crucial impression of self-confidence and with a smile, will create a positive atmosphere.
Mirror body language and tone
Meeting anyone for the first time, calls for an immediate assessment of that person and a variety of factors contribute to the final positive or negative impression formed. The first impression gained, is from their appearance, followed immediately by any gestures and actions. Body language is also a means of determining similar and compatible characteristics with ourselves, a bonding with our mirror image. The non-verbal mirror image is a display of compatibility.
Yawning, is a particular visual form of a mirror image and one that has been recognized as being highly contagious; even just a wide open mouth is sufficient to induce a yawning spasm. Similar mirrored behaviour can also be observed in queues, where strangers willingly co-operate with each other in obeying unwritten, but agreed rules.
One crucial aspect of an interview is not to stare or have a blank look! Most of us when meeting someone for the first time become wary if eyes are continually shifting all looking everywhere except at us. This is a critical put off for an interviewer. If you keep avoiding direct eye contact, the impression formed by the interviewer is that you are nervous, untrustworthy or you could be viewed as lying during the interview.
Keep an arm’s distance
We all like our own space, therefore, don’t invade the personal space of an interviewer. Ensure you are within a distance from which you can hear him/her, which is about an arm’s length, thereby, establishing a comfortable distance between you. Invading the space of an interviewer, by about more than 20 inches, could make them uneasy and a distraction from your conversation.
Keep a positive posture
Maintaining your posture at an interview is a great influencer. Concentrate on standing straight, sitting with an upright back and don’t slouch, or fidget under any circumstances. This indicates a lazy and nervous attitude, whereas a good posture projects self-confidence and your capabilities.
Matching your facial expressions to your tone of voice is crucial. An example of this is being asked what you are most passionate about and then you answer with a deadpan face. As you can imagine, the reaction will not be the one you want to hear.
Body Language matters even in a phone interview
During a phone interview, stand up with a straight back. This posture will increase your awareness levels and motivate you to be more involved in the conversation. This attitude will help you sound alert, self-controlled and project energy through the tone of your voice. As it motivates your speech, so it will motivate the interviewer in your favour.
Some Influencers for your interview
It always helps to have some golden rules, or influencers to keep in mind during an interview. Remain alert to the conversation, so sit up straight and lean slightly forward in your chair. Aligning your body in this position, demonstrates to the interviewer your interest, attention, understanding and agreement.
Enthusiasm can be shown by an expression that projects interest. Enforce this with appropriate nods and positive gestures; but please don’t overdo it!
Smell, is a high sense of influence, therefore, be careful regarding your choice of colognes and perfumes, as invasive aromas can irritate allergies in others. You do not want that!
If there is more than one interviewer, be sure to recognize both with a controlled gaze. Always return your attention to the person who asks the question.
Should there be an interruption during the interview, do not stare at the interviewer during their attention to this immediate business matter. Indicate your willingness to leave the room in the interest of their privacy.
Wrapping it up
You have now come to what could be one of the critical aspects of the interview and if you believe you have reached the end of your ordeal and everything is signed, sealed and delivered for you, forget it. Do not lose your poise, retain your posture and don’t go the casual or big buddy’s route with the interviewer. Keep the impression you have worked so hard to establish.
As you did at the beginning, offer a firm handshake, with eye contact and confirm your interest in joining the organization. You could thank the interviewer for this opportunity and that you are looking forward to contributing your experience and knowledge to the company.
Remember, the interview is not over until you have left the building! Maintain your posture, positive attitude and body language, after leaving the interview area, when you are in the lift, until you are out of the premises; you never know who is standing next to you, behind you, or even watching on CCTV!