Although the quality of your resume, cover letter, and verbal responses are extremely influential determining factors of whether or not you will be hired, the importance of your nonverbal communication and behavior during an interview should not be underestimated. This is because research has shown that up to 80% of communication is nonverbal. That being said, here are some tips you may not have thought of to improve your body language and nonverbal behavior before and during your interview.
Before even getting out of your car to walk toward the location of your interview, make sure you appear calm and confident. You never know if your interviewer can see you from a window or happens to be standing next to you in the elevator. If you don’t look put together in those first impressionable moments, it will be hard for your interviewer to see past that during your interview.
Maintain an appropriate amount of eye contact. It’s ok to look away every once in awhile when you’re speaking, but it is extremely important to maintain eye contact when your interviewer is speaking to you to avoid appearing disinterested or aloof.
If you are prone to fidgeting, cross your hands in your lap. Keeping your fingers intertwined will also prevent you from other distracting movements such as touching your face or playing with your hair. Of course it’s okay to use your hands to make occasional gestures while you speak, but return your hands to your lap when you’re finished or when your interviewer is speaking.
Make a conscious effort to keep your posture in check by rolling your shoulders back and sitting up straight. Slouching looks lazy and sloppy, but leaning forward onto the table can seem aggressive. Sitting up straight is a happy medium that makes you appear confident and attentive.
If you send to subconsciously swing your foot back and forth when your legs are crossed, make sure to sit so that your feet are placed firmly on the ground to avoid any distracting movements.
Crossing your arms appears resistant and defensive. Instead, keep your arms closer to your sides, which makes you look approachable.
Engage with your interviewer while they are speaking by nodding every so often and using appropriate facial movements occasionally such as an eyebrow raise or pleasant smile. However, refrain from nodding too frequently or else you’ll look like a bobble head doll
Make sure your tone of voice and facial expressions are consistent with what you’re speaking about. If the interviewer asks you what you’re most passionate about, don’t respond in a monotone voice! And although smiling is generally a good thing, it can appear ingenuine when done at an inappropriate time.
When choosing an outfit to wear to your interview, stay away from bold patterns. Instead, choose colors such as navy, grey, black, and white which appear professional and do not distract from your interview.
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