For some people interviews are ‘horrific ordeals’, a 30-60 minute ‘interrogation’ that comes after a stress-filled 48 hours of nail-biting and self-doubt. Others see interviews as opportunities, a chance to find out about the role they’re interested in, and an opportunity to confidently position themselves for success.
Whether you fall into one or the other of those camps, or maybe somewhere in between, there are a few things that we all should do during interviews. And most of them have to do with your body language!
The old adage “It’s not so much what you say, as how you say it” is true for interviews. Of course if you’re not making any sense, or are not answering the questions asked, it won’t make a difference ‘how you say it’. But you need to communicate your professionalism effectively both verbally and physically.
Let’s assume that you’ve prepared properly by reading up on the business; that you’ve practiced your answers to the most common interview questions; and that you’ve paid attention to the dress code advice. So what next…?
- First impressions count - What you do within the first 30 seconds or less can make or break your chances. More than the way you look, it’s the way you handle yourself.
- A firm, confident handshake – Nobody likes holding a dead fish – avoid a limp handshake as it does not project confidence. But don’t grip too firmly, leave some bones intact!
- Maintain eye contact – While grasping your interviewer’s hand, make good eye contact while confidently introducing yourself.
- Sit up straight, don’t fidget - Once you’ve been invited to sit, don’t slouch. Sit up straight and maintain good posture. Avoid ‘nervous ticks’ such as tapping your foot or scratching your nose.
- Pay attention, stay focused – It seems like common sense, but if you can’t stay focused during the interview, an employer won’t believe that you can stay focused during a shift or a day’s work.
- Don’t cross your arms… It makes you look uncomfortable and defensive. Rest your hands in your lap, or on the arms of your chair.
- …Or your legs - Crossing your legs can easily lead to a subconscious twitch or to leg shaking. That’s distracting, and like crossing your arms, it shows discomfort.
- Address your audience – If you are being interviewed by a team, make sure to briefly address all of them with your gaze. But always make the person who asked the current question your focus.
- Display enthusiasm - Stay interested, and maintain an enthusiastic expression. Make positive gestures, nod in agreement, but don’t overdo it!
- Maintain your composure - The interview is wrapping up, it’s almost over. Make your goodbye handshake as confident as your initial handshake. Even if you think you ‘aced’ it, stay cool and composed as you leave the building. No victory dance – you never know who may be watching through a window!
Make Use of Career Services
Your campus Career Services department can help you with interview techniques, resume writing, job search strategies and more. Let them help you with your interview preparation, including some role playing and mock interviews. For more information contact the Career Services department at your campus, or call 1.877.206.2106