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According to Professor of Psychology Albert Mehrabian, your gestures, handshake, eye contact, facial expressions and body posture make up 55% of the impression you leave when meeting another person. The tone and speed of your voice add another 35%. That leaves only 7% for what you say to make a difference! Outstanding answers won’t come across as credible or confident if your body language doesn’t back it up.
Here’s our quick guide to getting body language right at your interview.
Look the person you’re meeting in the eye and find the sweet spot between too soft and too aggressive with your grip. If you’re unsure, spend some time practicing. This may sound a little strange, but your interview starts and ends with the simple handshake – it’s important to get it right. We meet 1000’s of candidates a year and a really lame handshake is often remembered for negative reasons. Similarly, a bone crushing handshake goes too far and will immediately put off the interviewer.
Eye contact is crucial as it shows you are prepared to answer questions and you’re not trying to be evasive. However, overdoing it by staring deeply into someone’s eyes for an extended period can make you appear too intense or even creepy! Move your eyes around the interviewers’ face for a subtle approach.
Complement the words you’re saying with hand gestures. This indicates honesty and will prevent you from coming across as anxious. When you do let your hands free, ensure you avoid pointing or other aggressive movements!
Looking confident is important but don’t lean back or cross your arms, this is a sign that you’re disinterested, or worse, untrustworthy. However, leaning in when you say something important is a great way to add extra gravitas.
Fidgeting is distracting and a tell-tale sign that you are anxious. Stay cool, calm and collected and keep your caffeine and sugar intake to a minimum.
On your way to the interview room, make sure you’re following or walking alongside the interviewer, not leading them!
To help with nerves, avoid crossing your legs and keep your feet planted on the ground. This also prevents fidgeting and supports a more confident posture.
Body language is a complex topic. Being aware of your own physical movements and be aware of the tell-tale signs of your interviewer. This will help you to excel in your next job interview.
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