The Importance of Body Language in an Interview
While the way you answer questions during an interview is important, there is a lot of communication that is not verbally exchanged. The body language that you portray during an interview reveals just as much about you as your answers to the questions–sometimes even more.
Speaking from experience, I have found that there are three key points to consider while expressing your body language.
First impressions are crucial, especially during a final round of face-to-face interviews. The company has already seen your resume and cover letter, so now it is time to showcase your personality. Making a strong entrance is very important. Walking with your shoulders back and chest out, shows that you are confident. You should also walk with purpose. Clear, defined strides are much more visually aesthetic compared to someone who shuffles their feet into an interview. You want to appear confident about yourself, not like you just rolled out of bed. The subtle difference between how you would walk into an interview and how you would walk into a shopping mall make a huge difference in the long run.
After a (hopefully) good first impression has been made, you must consider how you appear during the Q&A session. I tend to feel awkward about my movements throughout the Q&A process. I always ask myself, “Are my gestures too grandiose?” “Do I seem too stiff?” From trial and error, I have found that it’s best to just act natural. I know that seems obvious–but it’s true. If you talk with your hands and use gestures–then use them. If you don’t know what to do with your hands in an interview, simply fold them in your lap. (I have also found that this avoids fiddling with papers or clothes which is a bonus!) So sit with a nice straight back and just act natural! You don’t want your interviewer to think you’re putting on a ‘professional’ act.
The last thing to consider is your exit. You always read about the importance of a good, strong handshake–and it’s true. That’s how you “seal the deal” after the interview, before you part ways. However, something else to consider about your exit is eye contact. This, of course, should be done throughout the whole interview, but looking your interviewer in the eye, explaining how good it was to meet them, combined with your handshake–is basically a triple threat.
Combining these tips have helped me tremendously in interviews. Try them out and put your own spin on them next time you want to nail and interview.