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Interviews & Negotiations

Body Language at Interviews

By the time you get to the interview you should have already done your homework on the company, read up on any recent company news, practiced how to answer the more commonly asked questions and figured out what to wear, but did you realise that some employers learn more about you through your body language than by anything you actually say.

Even if you are having a telephone interview, the impression you give the interviewer can be improved by simple things like standing up. Standing increases your level of alertness; allows you to become more engaged in the conversation and, feel and sound in control.

Before a face to face interview having a positive attitude, a confident handshake and a smile will give the interviewer that all important good first impression. Here are some hints to avoid giving off the wrong signals through your body language.

DO...

  • Sit up straight, and lean slightly forward in your chair—this will show that you are engaged and listening to the interviewer.
  • Let your hands lie loosely on your lap with your elbows on the armrests of your chair; this shows an open expression and one of interest and honesty.
  • Tilt your head slightly towards the interviewer asking you the question as this is a recognised listening method and shows interest.
  • Maintain good eye contact throughout—from the initial introductions, to listening and responding to questions.
  • Show your enthusiasm by keeping an interested expression.
  • Project your voice—not too loud, but a strong voice indicates confidence and presence.
  • If there is more than one person interviewing you, make sure you address each interviewer by delivering your answer whilst glancing at each of the interviewers and engaging them all. When you are coming to the end of your answer return your attention to the person who asked you the question.
  • Remember to smile!

AVOID...

  • Giving a handshake that isn’t firm and confident.
  • Sitting with your arms folded across your chest as you may appear unfriendly and disengaged.
  • Rubbing or touching your nose. This could suggest that you're not being completely honest.
  • Slouching back in your seat.
  • Tapping your foot or fingers as this usually indicates stress, impatience or boredom.
  • Fidgeting with objects such as a pen, paper or piece of your attire. This is a sign of anxiety and can be interpreted as a lack of preparedness.
  • Not making eye contact or looking down at the floor when speaking as this will make you appear lacking in confidence.

At the end of your interview ensure that you shake your interviewers hand as confidently as you did at the start and thank them for their time.