Interview Body Language
It’s not what you say, but how you say it that makes the difference. This old adage is very true when it comes to interviewing. If you are interviewing for an actual job, the hiring manager is as concerned about how you will fit in the company or team as they are with your skills. The hiring manager is adding to a team of people not buying a spring to put in a big machine. Even if they have a business only mindset, they are still human. As humans, relationships impact their decisions heavily. Your body language during the interview does a lot to frame the mini-relationship developed during the interview.
Follow the leader – Managers want employees who are happy to follow their lead and want be too disruptive. No one wants to add someone to the team who is going to cause a lot of problems. You can demonstrate both of these with a simple game of follow the leader. First, forget about what you think is the proper protocol for an interview. Second, let the interviewer do their job and manage the interview to some degree by following their cues. If the manager offers to shake hands to it, don’t force them to shake your hand. Let them point you to a seat. Even mimic their style of sitting. if they’re laid back be a bit causal. If they are on the edge of their seat, be more tentative.
Be serious – This job is a big deal to you. Since its important keep a strong balance of relaxed and tentative in everything you do. Sit up straight but not uncomfortably. Keep eye contact but don’t stare.
Be open – Crossed arms and legs make you appear closed or defensive. Keep your arms to your side when standing or use open hand gestures to show your palms. Keep your feet squarely planted on the ground.
Be calm – Nervous ticks like toe tapping, nail biting, clicking your nails on the desk, wild hand gestures, or waiving your arms are interviewing sins. Avoid them at all cost. Fidgeting shows you are nervous and not very confident. The interview typically takes this to mean that you are not interested in the interview, have somewhere better to be, or aren’t being honest about your skills.
These four little tips can help you stay focused and relaxed making you appear like a confident, wise person and the best possible employee for the job.