Preparing for an interview is one of the more stressful events for any professional, regardless of experience level or job title. You've been told to research the company in advance, practice your answers and prepare good questions. Another aspect of the interview to pay attention to is your body language; it's important not to cross your arms, slouch or avoid eye contact.
While it's critical to say the right thing in an interview, it's also important to realize that your body language will communicate an enormous amount about you. It will demonstrate your level of confidence in yourself, your interest in the position, even your ability to perform in the new position. With this kind of pressure, and so many elements to consider during the course of the interview, it can feel overwhelming to have to consider your body language, as well. Here are a few tips that will help you attend to your nonverbal communication while you're selling yourself during your next interview, performance review or even client sales call.
Practice makes perfect
Start paying attention to your body language now, don't wait for the interview. If you are currently working while you job search, pay attention to your body language when you talk with co-workers, superiors and employees. Notice how you sit during meetings and what you do with your hands and arms during business occasions like dinners. Are you sitting up straight or do you tend to slouch? Do you speak in a confident tone with direct eye contact or do you tend to look down instead? If you are currently unemployed, pay attention to your body language with your family and in social situations. First, notice how you're coming across and even better, ask for feedback. Find out how friends, family and co-workers perceive you by asking those close to you that you can confide in and trust.
Then practice improving your body language, as often as possible, in every situation. For example, if you find that you don't like to make eye contact, make an effort to meet someone's eyes when talking to them. Of course you don't want to stare, but brief moments of eye contact show that you can connect with others and that you are sure of what you are saying. If you normally slouch, sit up and sit forward when making an important point to show you're confident and engaged in the conversation. And if you have a habit of crossing your arms, make an effort to unfold them and leave them at your sides. If that feels strange, try gesturing instead. If you're a woman and tend to play with your hair when you get nervous, hold a pen instead during a meeting.
Whatever habit you may have, if it belies the fact that you're nervous, you come across as less confident, and less believable, as a result. Have a close friend or family member help you with your body language when at home, as well. Practice your interview questions with several people, attending to your body language. Get their feedback. The key is to train yourself to always have body language that indicates you are open and confident.
Prepare in advance
When you have prepared well for a job interview, including your research, responses and questions, that makes it easier to make a good impression with your nonverbal communication. When you have prepared your responses well, you will feel more at ease and confident. If a question catches you off guard, you'll be more comfortable pausing for a moment if you've prepared. If you find yourself getting nervous, take a deep breath to keep your nerves at bay and ground yourself again. Taking a breath to get grounded in your body again will help you remain calmer and present. It will also give you a better demeanor overall which will improve your body language.
It is important to prepare your answers, but it is also important to prepare and organize your materials. You should have everything organized and easily accessible, including your resume, your reference list or even your presentation, so you're not scrambling around to locate them.
Imagine that you are rummaging through your portfolio trying to find your resume in the waiting room or even worse, during the interview. What would your face and body language look like? Not positive. If the hiring manager sees this, it most likely would not be a stellar moment, and you wouldn't be making the first impression that you want to get the job. As part of preparing for the interview in advance, collect and organize your items at home before you leave, in a way that you can easily reach for what you want at the right moment.
Source <> http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2017-01-25/improve-your-body-language-for-a-successful-job-interview
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