9 Tips To Master Body Language In Interviews

Master Body Language in Interviews

9 Tips To Master Body Language In Interviews

An interview isn’t just to assess your ability to perform tasks; it’s also an opportunity for hiring staff to see how well you would integrate with their existing company culture. The interviewer will pay close attention to everything you say and do, placing a lot of emphasis on your body language. In this article, the career coaches at CareerFiX explore 9 tips you can use to master body language in interviews.

1. Enter with Confidence

First impressions start the minute you walk through the door – not the office in which you will complete your interview, but the door to the entire organisation. With such importance placed on body language in the interview, don’t wait until you are inside to put on your game face. Be friendly and courteous to all staff members you might meet along the way, whether it’s the cleaner, receptionists or CEO. Refrain from slouching in the chair while waiting, or pacing about anxiously.. Instead, impress any watchful eyes by calmly taking a deep breath and sitting with a natural, upright interview posture to display quiet confidence.

2. Offer a Firm, but Controlled Handshake

A handshake is a very common way to begin an interview, but also a key window into the behaviour of the person at the other end. If one is offered, be sure to apply the right pressure to convey the appropriate message. You don’t want to squeeze too hard as it will come across as over-confident and forceful, but too soft will give a sense of timidity or even weakness to your initial impression. Aim for the middle ground with a good, firm, and well-practiced shake. Suffer from sweaty palms when you’re nervous? You’re not alone, so be sure to always carry a handy bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitiser to remove moisture before entering.

3. Approach with Respect & Pride

Whether consciously, or something they note in the back of their minds, hiring managers will review how you approach the office once invited in. Avoiding eye contact, shielding your body with crossed arms, and hurried footsteps can indicate you are uncomfortable, or worse, unhappy to be there. Swaggering with slow-steps and loose interview posture, on the other hand, may suggest you believe you are above the position, sending its own alarm bells to the interviewer. To find a happy balance, roll your shoulder blades back, elevate your chin, and maintain a healthy level of eye contact. This shows respect for the position, the interviewer, and also yourself.

4. Take a Seat with Care

When you are offered a chair to sit down at the interview, continue that mixture of respect and confidence. Rather than slouching, tuck back into the contours of the chair to maintain that straightened, natural interview posture. In terms of your feet, don’t balance one ankle on your opposite knee, or bounce your knees up and down repeatedly, as it will show you are either too comfortable, or too uncomfortable, thereby making the interviewer uneasy. Instead, keep them flat on the ground, or should you need to move, tuck them slightly crossed under the chair.

5. Maintain Calm Hand Movements

Interviews can be nerve-racking experiences, and many of us are guilty of keeping our hands and fingers occupied to deal with it. Whether it is fiddling with watches and jewellery, fidgeting with papers, or simply tapping our fingers on the undersides of our chair, this can all present an air of being either bored, impatient, or overly anxious. Hand gestures can be well-integrated into conversation to help add some emotion into what you’re saying, but if you find them hard to control, try squeezing your fingers with thumbs and fingertips pressed together, or holding them neatly in your lap.

6. Maintain Balanced Eye Contact

Eye contact is a key part of good body language during an interview. Talking to the ground, the walls, ceiling, or anywhere other than the eyes of the person interviewing you will convey a lack of credibility in your character. It’s important to remember, however, that it’s not a staring contest, either. Instead, continue that healthy balance of looking directly at the other person/people when they are speaking, showing you are attentive and actively listening to what they have to say. Then when it is your time to speak, mix it up; if you’re recounting a story from a previous role, for example, your eyes might dart about the room to better imitate the experience, but when you want to drive a point home, you re-establish that strong eye connection.

7. Breathe In… Breathe Out

A natural response to anxiety and stress is to either develop shallow breathing, or forget to take in air all together. This can then translate to shaken words in your answer, or a quiet and breathy speech, similar to having just finished an extensive workout. Whenever you feel your heart racing, control your stress levels with the ‘Box Breathing’ technique:

  • Begin by breathing in for four seconds through your nose, being conscious of how your lungs fill with air.
  • Hold that air in your lungs for a further four seconds.
  • Proceed to gradually exhale through your mouth for four seconds, feeling your lungs empty.
  • Repeat again and again until you feel a greater sense of calm.

It is widely proven that simply improving your breathing will reduce stress levels, which is of great importance for good body language and posture during an interview.

8. Show Off Those Pearly Whites

It might sound simple, but what does a smile indicate? That you’re happy to be there and excited to perform well. Sure, this can be hard when you’re fighting off nerves, but take a moment to look at your reflection in a bathroom or the elevator going up, and apply a natural, confident, and welcoming grin to greet the office. At the very least, smiling releases a series of chemicals called neuropeptides into your body that work towards lowering your stress levels and keeping you calm. Maintain this throughout the entire interview and people will immediately feel warmed and drawn to you.

9. Mirror Your Interviewer(s)

Without imitating your interviewer to the extent they think you are making fun of them, take notice of their body language and adopt some similar actions. Should they nod vigorously when discussing an important part of the role, nod as well, indicating you feel equally as strong about this area. Should they introduce laughter to the conversation, don’t be afraid to do the same, and show how you would integrate seamlessly into their workplace.

Work with Specialist Coaches at CareerFIX to Learn More Before Your Next Interview

If you would like interview coaching to help ace your next meeting with excellent interview body language, the team of specialist coaches at CareerFiX offer a 15-minute free career counselling service to help get you started. Contact us today.

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