How to Avoid Making These 6 Body Language Mistakes in Your Interviews

How to Avoid Making These 6 Body Language Mistakes in Your Interviews

You've prepared and ready for those common interview questions. You have rehearsed your responses to competency-based queries, but do you know how to use your body language for the best chance of a successful job offer?  


Body language is more important than you might think, with 55% of all communication identified as "nonverbal". Nervousness can easily lead to a host of body language mistakes, from constant fidgeting to awkward grimaces, and a weak handshake.  


Unfortunately, since half of the interviewers decide whether a person is right for the job before they ever have a chance to answer a question, the way you present yourself is crucial.  


If you want to improve your chances of earning your perfect job with that dream organisation, then you need to make sure you're not making these common body language mistakes.  



Mistake 1: Failing to Make Eye Contact 



In the world of body language errors, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to avoid eye contact with your interviewer. Hiring managers want to see the confidence in their prospective candidates, and keeping your vision cast down towards the floor makes you look nervous and lacking in confidence.  


Although you don't want to stare your interviewer out with too much intense eye contact, looking at them when answering their questions, or listening to their responses is crucial.  


It shows that you're engaged in the conversation and providing your full attention. If you're in a group interview, it's best to make sure that you maintain eye contact mostly with the person asking the questions, while looking at the other people in the room from time to time.  



Mistake 2: Too Many Hand Gestures 

When it comes to the hands, most job candidates believe that their handshake is the biggest threat to their chances of success. However, there's more you can do to damage your first impression than giving a handshake that's too weak, or too strong. 13% of the hiring managers interviewed in a survey about recruitment said that using too many hand gestures while talking was a huge interview mistake. 


Although talking with your hands might be a common habit, it's something you should cut down on when preparing for an interview. The more nervous you get, the more uncontrolled your movements can become, leading to flailing gestures that make you look like a loose cannon.  


Mistake 3: Forgetting to Smile 

Anxious, stone-faced candidates don't do well in interviews. Even if you have the best CV in the world, it's important to sell yourself with a charming smile. No-one wants to work with someone who's constantly nervous or grumpy. 



Not only can smiling make you appear warm and friendly, but it could calm your interview-based jitters. Combining eye contact with a genuine smile will help to decrease stress in your system, and ensure that you feel more confident than you would with a frown. Even if you don't feel like smiling, practice faking one anyway if you want to make the right impression.  



Mistake 4: Constantly Fidgeting with Something 

Whether it's playing with your pen, shuffling papers, or shifting around in your seat, fidgeting is a sure way to ruin your chances of a job offer. While anxiety is normal for any interview, excessive fidgeting is distracting, and often frustrating for the interviewer. On top of that, it can communicate that you're not confident in your own abilities.  


Rather than fidgeting yourself out of a job, make sure that you focus on maintaining a relaxed, professional appearance. Keep your hands on your lap, or the arms of the chair you're sitting on, and place your feet flat on the floor.  



Mistake 5: Crossing your Arms 

Crossing your arms might be something that you do daily, but it has the nasty habit of making you look like a moody teenager. People often see crossed arms as a sign that the person they're talking to is annoyed, disengaged, or bored. While it’s highly likely, you are not feeling any of these emotionsSadly, for you, the meaning they communicate is that you looked bored or disengaged.  


Sometimes, crossing your arms can make you feel more comfortable or protected in an interview situation, but it also blocks you off from your employer. Instead, think about how you can portray interest and engagement with your body language, by keeping yourself open, perhaps with your hands by your sides, and your body angled towards the interviewer.  



Mistake 6: Messing up Your Posture 



Finally, sitting slumped in your seat won't portray you as a confident, professional person. No matter how great your CV looks, or how tailored your suit may be, a bad posture can cause you to appear uninterested, or again even lack in confidence, possibly even rude.  


Keep your spine straight against the back of your chair, and square your shoulders. This will help you to look more confident and show that you respect your interviewer and the potential job ahead of you. A strong posture stands out, making you look more like a leader. If you can't sit straight, then focus on leaning slightly towards your interviewer, to show engagement.  


So often candidates focus their interview preparation on preparing to answer questions that they  will be asked. Remember, what you say accounts for just 7 % of how you communicate in your interview. How you communicate those words will be the difference that makes the difference.  


Practice how you want to deliver your answers as well as what you plan to say.  


About First2Recruit

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