A majority (58% to be exact) of the message we convey is through our body language, this is known as non-verbal communication. Only 7% of our message is made of the words we use. In preparing for job interviews most of us concentrate on making sure we have the “right” answers to the questions we expect. Most of us don’t prepare to be sure that we are sending the right message with our body language.
Body language is a large indicator of our confidence and comfort level in any given situation, and it can make or break your chances of landing the job. Here are five common body language mistakes to avoid in your next interview:
Not optimizing eye contact
One of the most important skills to master for a job interview is maintaining appropriate eye contact. In a 2018 CareerBuilder report, 67 percent of the 2,500 hiring managers surveyed said that failure to make eye contact was the top body language mistake job seekers make.
That’s not to say you should be intensely staring down at your interviewer the entire time. Start the contact when you first meet them at the initial handshake. Express warmth by smiling often and avoid making shifty eye movements.
No slouching — always keep a strong, straight back. Lean forward slightly from time to time to show interest. A strong posture will not only make you look more confident, it can also help you feel more confident and perform better in your interview.
Smiling too much (or not enough)
Succeeding isn’t as simple as just smiling. Smiling at the beginning and end of your interview — but not as much in between — will make you seem more approachable and likable. It’s all about balance. Do what feels natural and don’t overthink it. A simple trick is to try and match the energy or demeanor of your interviewer.
Too much fidgeting will make you look anxious and nervous, which might cause your interviewer to question your assertiveness and interpersonal warmth. Avoid the temptation to fidget your fingers or, even worse, nearby objects! By embracing stillness, you can display the persona of a confident and capable leader. If you have a hard time doing this, practice answering questions while keeping as still as possible in front of a mirror.
A weak handshake
Your handshake is the first and last impression you will make in a job interview. A strong handshake can both diminish the impact of a negative impression and make a positive interaction even better.
Remember that in an interview you can say all the right words but if they are delivered in a slow, monotone while slouching and staring into space you will be regarded as less confident and intelligent than those that exhibit good strong body language.
Rick Christensen: Director, Career Transition Practice Rick has been a career consultant for over 25 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.
Rick’s passion is coaching individuals through career transitions, developing career management strategies and in identifying and sharpening competencies to open doors to new opportunities. His efforts have assisted thousands of individuals achieve their full potential.
Contact Rick at: Rick@CareerDevelopmentPartners.com