Body Language Gaffes – Avoid These Mistakes for Interview Success

So you’ve got down to the last three candidates of 3,000 applications, you’ve got all of your information at hand, any question asked, and you know the response. But hey…. what’s this? The intimidation and nerves creep in, just as you’re about to finish the interview that habit that you’ve been trying to kick for years creeps in – you know? The dreaded nail biting. Your future boss has just crossed your name off as a ‘Fail’ unfortunately, not a good day for the health of your nails, or the health of your career prospects; In all seriousness though, body language mistakes and bad habits can ruin your chances in an interview – if you let them! So no more nail biting, nose picking, or fidgeting for you, you’re past that! Here’s the top tips and ‘no-no’s’ from here at Jobwise, to make sure you keep your composure when under pressure.

  • At all costs, avoid the weak handshake. Make sure that your handshake is firm and that the right amount of pressure is applied. A genuine smile and eye contact supplements the handshake perfectly.
  • Sit-up and stand-up straight. Unless you’ve got a medical condition this is your safest bet. You don’t want to be encroaching the interviewees personal space by leaning forward all of the time, likewise, leaning back and slouching suggests a lack of enthusiasm. A straight posture is the happiest medium. You may also be surprised at how your posture can affect your thinking, demeanour and speech, make sure it’s professional and you will be onto a winner.
  • Avoid crossing your arms as this suggests discomfort and defensiveness. Instead keep your hands in sight, be open and expressive, any natural gestures made will make you appear more enthusiastic and engaged. This is a great way to emphasise your thoughts, opinions and responses.
  • Imitating your interviewers positive body language can quickly build rapport. You need to be subtle though, or you may cause alarm. The vast majority of people tend to do this naturally in conversation without even realising it, but then again, a reminder is sometimes useful.
  • Playing with your hair is a definite ‘no-no’. This is a stress comfort cue that (like nail biting) can signify anxiety, nervousness and uncertainty. It can also signify interest and flirtatiousness – keep in mind that we’re talking about interviews, not first dates.
  •  Make sure to make eye contact and smile in an interview. Don’t creep the interviewer-out by staring at them throughout the entire session, but do make eye contact when they are speaking. This is a great way to make a connection and shows attentiveness on the part of the candidate. Eye contact also reflects a higher level of confidence, providing the interviewer with the knowledge that you are proficient on a social level.
  • Fidgeting – Avoid playing with your watch, pockets, buttons etc etc. If you’ve got a tendency to play with your jewellery when conversing with people, then you’re probably going to be better off leaving it at home on the day of the interview. Likewise avoid to much shuffling – please, try and deter the nerves. A calm, comfortable, confident demeanour is your best bet.

Plenty of the aforementioned points are common sense initiatives, however it’s always good to have a pre-interview check to make sure that your demeanour is as competent and charming as possible. So remain aware of your body language, and go ahead, get that job!

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07May2013