During an interview, your mouth isn’t the only thing talking. Your body language is also sending messages to the hiring manager and, if not properly managed, can even contradict the words you are saying.
While most body language is fairly instinctual, you can learn to control it. If you want to make sure your body language is working in your favor, here’s what you need to know.
When you first meet with the hiring manager, there is usually a fairly common sequence. You stand face-to-face, share a handshake, and exchange quick introductions. While the whole thing may take 30 seconds or less, it is a critical moment, as the hiring manager has already started assessing you.
If you want to nail this initial encounter, you stand up straight, make eye contact, and smile. Otherwise, if you avoid eye contact, slouch, and keep a neutral or sour expression, you may look insecure, unhappy to be there, or sloppy.
A firm, but not overpowering, handshake is also essential. If your handshake is too soft, it makes you seem less confident. If it’s too firm, you seem aggressive.
During the Interview
After the introduction, you typically head to the meeting space. As you sit down, make sure to maintain good posture, sitting up straight and keeping your chin up. Additionally, maintain an open position. Avoid crossing your arms or hunching your shoulders, as this can make you seem disinterested, judgmental, or unsure.
When you talk with the hiring manager, it is OK to lean forward. This can actually make you seem interested and confident, as you are closing the distance between you slightly.
Resting your hands on the table is fine during the interview, but don’t be afraid to gesture when you speak. While dramatic movements are usually off-putting, small ones are natural and can make you seem open and energetic.
Also, make eye contact with the hiring manager regularly, both when they are speaking with you and when you are responding. Smile often, but don’t keep one uncomfortably plastered on your face. Most natural smiles shift, so holding a toothy grin the entire time doesn’t seem right.
As You Leave
Once the interview is over, stand up calmly. Then, gather your belongings and thank the hiring manager for their time. Finally, shake hands again, using the same technique as you did when you arrived.
As you walk out of the office (and even the building), maintain good posture and a steady pace, not rushing or meandering as you make your exit. Remember, someone may be keeping an eye on you until you get in your car and leave the property, so keep your body language under control until you are somewhere else.
By following the tips above, you can use your body language to your advantage during your interview.
If you would like to learn more about how to interview successfully or are looking for new Michigan and Ohio jobs, the knowledgeable team at The Advance Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled recruiters today and see how our interviewing expertise can benefit you.