KNOW WHEN TO HOLD ‘EM
Any poker player will tell you that we all have ‘tells.’ Fidgeting, posture, and even eye movement can indicate if we feel confident or nervous, or if we are honest or deceptive. Card sharks worth their salt have learned to identify and control their ‘tells,’ and even use them to their advantage. The same can be true for the rest of us. Body language is defined as the “nonverbal, usually unconscious, communication through the use of postures, gestures, facial expressions, and the like.” With a little knowledge and some practice, we can learn to control what we are communicating to others even when we are silent. Here are some body language tips for your next face-to-face interview.
THE EYES HAVE IT
Everyone agrees eye contact is very important. Upon first meeting someone it is a must to look them straight in the eyes. During a back-and-forth interview exchange this is just as important, however, staring is a no-no because it makes you seem overly aggressive. So just how long should you hold eye contact? According to Forbes.com, charisma coach Cynthia Burnham says you should hold a gaze for just one second longer than is typically comfortable. Take a break by looking down, but try to avoid looking up or to the right when answering questions because this might give the impression that you are lying.
You should be at least somewhat happy and excited to be getting a face-to-face interview for a job you (hopefully) want, and this will show on your face. But you might also be feeling nervous, intimidated, and desperate, and these will likely show, too. It may take some practice in the mirror or with a friend, but learn how to control your facial expressions. Avoid furrowed brows, frowns, lip nibbling, and far-off looks. Put on an open, neutral expression when listening, and don’t be afraid to smile naturally. When discussing your accomplishments, act as if it is the first time you’ve described them (even though it shouldn’t be because you should have practiced doing this in your interview prep), allowing yourself to show a bit of happiness and pride. You don’t want to rattle off your successes as though you are tired of talking about them, even if you are.
You are now looking the interviewer in the eye, with a pleasant, open expression. What are you communicating from the neck down? With practice, these body language tips will allow you to use the rest of your body to convey confidence, competence, and interest. Use a firm handshake, square your shoulders to your interviewer, keep an upright posture (no slouching!), and keep your hands in your lap or at your sides (don’t cross your arms). It’s OK to use hand gestures while you speak, but keep your hands below your chest, and the gestures simple and minimal. Crossing legs is fine; women can alternatively cross the ankles. By all means find out what your nervous tics/fidgets are (ask your friends/family), and avoid them.
Job hunting is a difficult process, and we all need all the help we can get. We hope these body language tips will help you land your next big job. If you need more help getting ready for an interview, contact our LeaderStat recruiters at 877-699-7828. They are experts in preparing candidates for the job search process, including nailing the interview.
LeaderStat specializes in interim management, executive recruiting and consulting for healthcare organizations.