We all spend hours preparing what we are going to say in an interview, but how much time do you dedicate to the non-verbal part? A study by psychologist Albert Mehrabian found that body language accounts for 55% of our overall communication, with what we say only being 7%. Here’s how you can improve your chances in an interview before you even open your mouth.
Perfect the handshake
You need to master the right balance between the two extremes of a dead fish and crushing someone’s bones. 36% of employers would even reject a candidate who has a poor handshake. Practice beforehand and look out for things such as length, completeness of grip and eye contact.
Don’t fear eye contact
Maintaining eye contact keeps you engaged and allows you to read non-verbal cues. It also shows that you are trustworthy. However, deadpan staring can be intimidating not to mention creepy, so break away when it feels natural, such as when you’re thinking about an answer.
Mirror you interviewer
Take note of your interviewer’s actions and mirror their body language. Mirroring helps you match the tone of the interviewer, signalling admiration and ensuring you remain appropriate. You don’t need to mimic every motion, just enough to help build rapport.
You don’t need to look like you’re advertising a whitening toothpaste but smiling creates a positive environment for your interview. A University of Cardiff study showed that people with Botox who were unable to frown reported as being less anxious! Smiling lowers stress levels making you calmer in your interview.
While the interview nerves may subconsciously send your twitching foot into overdrive, you need to become aware of these tendencies. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap to avoid distracting your interviewer.
Avoid looking bored
Constantly staring at the door because the interview has gone over the 30 minute agreed time slot will be your sure fire way of walking out of it and never looking back. Remain physically attentive until you leave the building.
While these body language cues are useful, overthinking every gesture or movement will only make you and your interviewer uncomfortable. The most important thing is to remain calm and confident. If you can do that, positive body language will come naturally.