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Interview Body Language that Sends the Right Message
Using effective non-verbal communication techniques, including appropriate interview body language, in your job interview is essential to your success.
Non-verbal communication accounts for over 90% of the message you are sending in your job interview! Your verbal content only provides 7% of the message the interviewer is receiving from you. As you can see your non-verbal signals, both your body language (55% of the message) and the way you speak such as voice tone (38%), are as important as the actual words you use in your job interview answers!
When the interviewer offers you a seat at the start of the job interview, sit upright but not too stiffly in your chair. This indicates that you are comfortable and feeling confident. Hunching down in your chair gives the impression of nervousness and low self-esteem. A sloppy posture indicates a careless attitude and a lack of energy. Sitting on the edge of your chair can come across as being nervous and tense. Relax and lean slightly forward, about 10 degrees, towards your interviewer. This gives the message that you are both interested and involved. Leaning back makes you appear too relaxed and casual. Leaning to the side can be perceived as not feeling comfortable with the interviewer. How you position your head also sends a message. Tilting your head very slightly to one side comes across as friendly and open. Keeping it straight comes across as self-assured and authoritative. It is also important to pay attention to the posture of your interviewer. Sometimes you can establish rapport by adopting the same posture as the other person. This is called mirroring. If they have adopted a more formal posture do the same until you see that the interviewer has relaxed and become less formal.
What to do with your Hands
If you are unsure of what to do with your hands, rest them, loosely clasped in your lap or on the table. Control your hands by being aware of what you are doing with them.
Having your hands above the neck, fiddling with your face or your hair, is unprofessional and conveys nervousness and anxiety. Keep your hands away from your face. Interview body language experts will tell you that touching the nose or lips can indicate that the candidate is lying. Holding a hand behind your head is often a sign that you are annoyed or uncertain. Folding your arms across your chest suggests a closed and defensive attitude. Waving your hands and arms around can be perceived as uncertainty and a lack of professionalism. Common wisdom is that the less you move your arms and hands about the more confident and in control you are. Practice a comfortable way to loosely place your arms and hands while you are sitting, both at a table and in a chair on its own. Be aware of the interview body language message your legs are giving. A lot of leg movement is both distracting and indicates nervousness. Resting one leg or ankle on top of your other knee makes you look too casual and comes across as arrogant. Crossing your legs high up conveys a defensive attitude in the one-on-one context of a job interview. Crossing them at the ankles or placing both feet flat on the floor conveys a confident and professional look during the job interview.
If the interviewer is talking and you want to show that you are actively listening, you need to instigate direct eye contact and maintain it. Avoid appearing as if you are staring aggressively by blinking at regular intervals and moving your head every now and then, such as giving a small nod. Interview body language experts suggest that when you are doing the talking you need to hold eye contact for periods of about 10 seconds before looking away briefly and then reestablishing eye contact. Overusing direct eye contact when you are speaking can come across as lecturing or challengingthe interviewer. Typically the listener maintains direct eye contact for longer than the speaker who breaks it off at intervals. Looking constantly downwards makes you appear insincere or submissive. It is acceptable to look down if you are making notes or referring to information in front of you. However if you are speaking, orthe interviewer is asking you something, raise your head and make regular eye contact to show that you are actively involved. With panel interviews it is best to look at and direct your answer to the person asking the question, with a glance periodically at the other interviewers. Eye contact is essential interview body language to establish rapport with your interviewer. Not making eye contact makes the interviewer feel disconnected from you. Eye contact should be a positive aspect of interview body language, if it is not used properly however it can quickly become negative.
Job Interview Tips
Overview Preparing for the Job Interview Win from the Word Go
Speaking in a clear and controlled voice conveys confidence.
Avoid speaking in a monotone by Reducing Interview Stress varying your tone and pitch, however don't overdo it and come across as Tips for Effective Interview overly excited or emotional. Generally it is Communication advisable not to Breathe and pause before answering a show too much or Common Interview Mistakes question, this gives you time to react in a too strong considered way and it ensures that the emotion during interviewer has finished the question. your job interview. Smile and nod at You should interact with the interviewer appropriate times as an equal, not a subordinate. Ensure but don't overdo it. Avoid erupting into laughter on that your voice tone is not apologetic or your own, laughing along withthe interviewer is far defensive. more acceptable.
The Interviewer's Message
Watch for these interview body language signals from your interviewer to read the message they are sending you.
Body language cues that can indicate boredom include resting head on hand, fiddling with hands and losing eye contact. If this happens wrap up what you are saying and move on by askingthe interviewer a question such as, "Is there anything else you would like to know about that topic?"
If the interviewer crosses arms or leans away it could mean that they are feeling uncomfortable.Perhaps you are leaning in too close and invading their space in some way. Create more space between yourselves. If there is not a table between you that creates a safe degree of personal space, keep a distance of about two to three feet, this is a comfortable amount of personal space for most people. Drumming fingers and rubbing the face can indicate irritation. Clarify that you are answering the question with the information they want and not frustrating them with an off-the-point response. Preparing for your job interview includes not only knowing what to say but how to say it. The best way to be aware of your interview body language and the way you are coming across is to practice in front of a mirror. This way you can be confident that you are sending the right message in your job interview. The message that you are a professional, confident and enthusiastic candidate for the position!
What message do your interview clothes send? Know how to dress appropriately for the job interview and increase your chances of success. Make sure your verbal communication is appropriate and conveys a professional image Tips for Effective Interview Communication Prepare for your job interview using this Pre Interview Checklist and have everything covered before your interview.
Body language during a job interview
Letter, interview and body language The rules as regards applying for jobs have been subject to enormous changes lately. In the past, people preferred a hand-written application letter. It is becoming more and more common these days to find a vacancy on the Internet, and to apply for it via the Internet as well. Quite often it is sufficient to place your C.V. on the web. Because of this, the application procedure often goes quicker, and now you can find yourself invited for a job interview before you know it. You can find information on the Internet about how to apply for jobs. Information can be found about how to write your application letter, the clothes that you should wear and how to carry out the interview itself. The importance of body language is often mentioned, but doesn't always get the attention it deserves. After all, before a word has even been spoken, your body language will have already given people their first impression of you. What type of person are you? By using words you can explain what type of education you have received and what experience you have gained since then. You can also show through words that you know what you're talking about and you can answer questions to clarify matters. At the same time however, your body language will also give out a lot more information. Based on your body language it can be seen if you come across as insecure or self-assured. It can also show if you are a busy or a quiet type and it helps give an impression of whether you are speaking truthfully or not. Body language can show if you not prone to stress. It can show how enthusiastic you are and if you are a nice person, someone who will take his work serious, but also someone who has a sense of humour and can enjoy a joke from time to time. The members of the application committee will ask you questions, but your answers won't only be oral. The committee will not only pay attention to what you say, but also to how you say it! Body language will determine first if it 'clicks', and sometimes all it takes is just a few seconds. Everybody uses body language, but it takes place
mostly at a subconscious level. Through becoming more aware of your own body language, but also through recognising the body language of others, you can definitely increase your chances of getting the job. Pay attention to time! It might be a cliché to talk about arriving in time for a job interview, but I think it is still important to bring it to your attention anew. Your attitude or attention to time will also send out non-verbal messages. An interview for a job is seen as a very important appointment, and showing up too late for your appointment is therefore absolutely unacceptable. Missing the bus or getting stuck in a traffic jam are pretty lame excuses. After all, for an important appointment like this you should have taken that into account. It's much better to arrive way too early than even a little too late! If you are too early for your appointment you don't have to go in immediately. Sometimes it's better to walk around a little in the neighbourhood, because waiting for a long time in a hallway or a 'sweatbox' will not do your nerves any good. If it is very cold outside, it might be wise to go back inside about ten minutes before your appointment because it can be very unpleasant to have to shake an ice-cold hand. The first meeting After you have announced yourself at the reception or to an employee of the company, you will often be asked to take a seat. After a while someone will come to lead you to the interview area. Do not jump up immediately and offer this person a handshake. It's better to let the other person takes the initiative. Shake hands firmly, but not too powerfully and look straight at the other person. After this you will be introduced to the (other) members of the application committee. During this introduction it is better to walk around the table to shake hands with the committee members, instead of leaning over the table. With each greeting look directly at the other person, and say your name. Except for an internal application, don't assume that the other people know your name. Choosing the right seat After the initial introduction you will usually be directed to take a seat. If you are left to choose a place yourself, choose a place from where you can clearly see all the interview participants, and from where they can also see you. If someone is sitting half behind you, and you can't really see him, he may not get such a good impression of you because of this. Tune your body posture During your job interview try to adopt a posture that shows interest but still comes across as being relaxed. You can do this by sitting up straight in your chair at the beginning of the interview, with your back against the back of the chair. If you slouch or hang sideways in your chair, it might give the impression that you are not that interested in the job. However, sitting on the edge of your chair can come across as being a little tense and might give the impression that you feel uncomfortable.
You can change your body posture a little during the interview. For example, when someone says something it is good to turn a little with your shoulders towards this person and to lean forward a little. This shows an interest in what the other person is saying. You can emphasise this by tilting your head a little. It is also important to pay attention to the posture of your interview partners. In some cases you can achieve mutual tuning by adopting the same posture as the other person. What to do with your hands? Just the same as when you are giving a presentation, many people often regard their hands as obstacles during a job interview rather than a useful means of communication. That is why people often ask what to do with their hands. In a difficult situation we are often inclined to fold our arms across our body. This helps to give us a more secure feeling. During a job interview it is better not to do this, because folding your arms can be interpreted as a defensive move. It is better to let your hands lie loosely on your lap or place them on the armrests of your chair. From these positions it's also easy to support your words with hand gestures. Movements: a dynamic interview? Nodding your head while speaking is a good way of supporting your words or adding meaning to them. Hand movements can also help to liven up the interview. The fact that you dare to make movements with your hands during an interview might indicate that you feel at ease quickly. In most cases it is better not to make too many hand movements at the start of the interview but add them slowly throughout the interview. As regards this, pay attention to your interview partners as well: if they use their hands a lot to make things clear, you can definitely do this as well. When they don't make many movements, it is better if you don't either. Just the same as with body posture, it is important to tune your movements to those of the other person. Also pay attention to inadvertent movements that you may make sometimes due to nervousness. For example, shuffling with your feet or kicking against the leg of a table can be very irritating for other people. Drumming with your fingers or clicking with a pen also won't be a great contribution to the interview. So pay attention! When should you look at whom? During the job interview it is important to look at all the interview partners to an equal extent. By looking directly at the other person we are giving them a sign of trust. By looking directly at people we are also in control of the conversation. Looking directly at somebody or looking away actually serves as the dots and commas in our spoken sentences. When one of the committee members explains something or poses a question, keep looking at this person for as long as he or she is speaking. This shows that you're listening. While he is speaking he may also look at the other people, but every time he wants to emphasise something he will look at you again. You can then nod to encourage him to continue talking. At the end of his question, he will keep looking at you and then tilt his head up a little to invite you to give an answer. When you answer a question, you will look first at the person who posed the question, but while you answer you should take turns looking at the other interview partners as well. You should direct yourself again to the
person who posed the question when you want to emphasise something and at the end of your answer. Also pay attention to the body language of your interview partners Apart from paying attention to your own body language, it is also important to see how your interview partners are behaving. The postures and movements of other people can give you an impression of how you are coming across to them. This can serve as a warning at an early stage that you might be doing something wrong that you are not being aware of. For example, when the committee members are of the opinion that you hold the floor for too long or you annoy them with your interruptions, they will show their irritation at first through their body language. When the committee members shake their heads, sigh or fold their arms and lean back, you can take this as a sign of displeasure. Usually it is not yet too late to change this. You see, it also applies to your interview partners that their body language takes place subconsciously. However, don't wait too long because then their irritation will transfer to their consciousness. Do not worry too much about tension Knowledge of body language can help you improve the mutual tuning during the interview. You can use this knowledge to hide your nervousness a little, but actually this is something you shouldn't worry about too much. Many applicants are nervous during an interview and of course they would much prefer not to let this nervousness show. However, it's not such a bad thing to be nervous. The committee members will understand this. Your nervousness may even show that you feel this job is important to you. If you weren't nervous, and therefore sit a little nonchalant, it might indicate that you are not that interested. Also realise that the job interview is more than just a means for the employer to determine which of the candidates is most suitable for the job. The job interview especially is a moment of mutual acquaintance. It's a first meeting with people that you might soon work together with. Therefore the boss should actually be just as nervous as you! Frank van Marwijk Bodycom Lichaamscommunicatie (Body Communication) The Netherlands
The Interview: Body Language Do's and Don'ts
Your heart feels ready to leap out of your chest. Beads of sweat build on your forehead. Your mind is racing.
t's not a full-blown interrogation -- although it may feel like it -- it's just a job interview. While it's no secret that job interviews can be nerve-racking, a lot of job candidates spend a significant amount of time worrying about what they will say during their interview, only to blow it all with their body language. The old adage, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it," still holds meaning, even if you're not talking. You need to effectively communicate your professionalism both verbally and nonverbally. Because watching your nonverbal cues, delivering concise answers and expressing your enthusiasm at once can be difficult when you're nervous, here's a guide to walk you through it: Have them at "hello" Before you walk into the interview, it's assumed that you will have done the following: prepared yourself by reading up on the company and recent company news; practiced what you'll say to some of the more common interview questions; and followed the "what to wear on your interview" advice. So you're ready, right? Some hiring managers claim they can spot a possible candidate for a job within 30 seconds or less, and while a lot of that has to do with the way you look, it's also in your body language. Don't walk in pulling up your pantyhose or readjusting your tie; pull yourself together before you stand up to greet the hiring manager or enter their office. Avoid a "dead fish" handshake and confidently -- but not too firmly -- grasp your interviewer's hand and make eye contact while saying hello. Shake your hand, watch yourself If you are rocking back in your chair, shaking your foot, drumming your fingers or scratching your... anything, you're going to look like your going to look the type of future employee who wouldn't be able to stay focused, if even for a few minutes. It's a not a game of charades, it's a job interview. Here's what to do (and not do): Don't: Rub the back of your head or neck. Even if you really do just have a cramp in your neck, these gestures make you look disinterested. Rub or touch your nose. This suggests that you're not being completely honest, and it's gross. Sit with your armed folded across your chest. You'll appear unfriendly and disengaged. Cross your legs and idly shake one over the other. It's distracting and shows how uncomfortable you are. Lean your body towards the door. You'll appear ready to make a mad dash for the door. Slouch back in your seat. This will make you appear disinterested and unprepared. Stare back blankly. This is a look people naturally adapt when they are trying to distance themselves. Do:
Sit up straight, and lean slightly forward in your chair. In addition to projecting interest and engagement in the interaction, aligning your body's position to that of the interviewer's shows admiration and agreement. Show your enthusiasm by keeping an interested expression. Nod and make positive gestures in moderation to avoid looking like a bobblehead. Establish a comfortable amount of personal space between you and the interviewer. Invading personal space (anything more than 20 inches) could make the interviewer feel uncomfortable and take the focus away from your conversation. Limit your application of colognes and perfumes. Invading aromas can arouse allergies. Being the candidate that gave the interviewer a headache isn't going to do anything in your favor. If you have more than one person interviewing you at once, make sure you briefly address both people with your gaze (without looking like a tennis spectator) and return your attention to the person who has asked you a question. Interruptions can happen. If they do, refrain from staring at your interviewer while they address their immediate business and motion your willingness to leave if they need privacy. Stand up and smile even if you are on a phone interview. Standing increases your level of alertness and allows you to become more engaged in the conversation. Say Goodbye Gracefully After a few well-thought-out questions and answers with your interviewer, it's almost over, but don't lose your cool just yet. Make sure your goodbye handshake is just as confident now as it was going in. Keep that going while you walk through the office building, into the elevator and onto the street. Once safely in your car, a cab or some other measurable safe distance from the scene of your interview, it's safe to let go. You may have aced it, but the last thing you want is some elaborate end-zone dance type of routine killing all your hard work at the last moment.
BODY LANGUAGE ARTICLES
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