How to impress at the interview with your body language

In a recent blog post, I talked you through the skills and techniques that would help you stand out at the interview stage of the job acquisition process. In this post, I would like to focus more on one of the techniques – creating a lasting first impression by using your body language.

You may need such skills at any number of different types of interview – a job, a study opportunity or PhD application or even a media interview. Whatever the situation, there are non-verbal communication techniques that you can use to present yourself in the best possible light.

Firstly, make the first 30 seconds count

Standing up straight, smiling and maintaining eye contact are the three ingredients you need to nail your first impression. I would also suggest having a short chat with the interviewer upon arrival. A little rapport will help ease the tension, and you will feel more relaxed to talk about the serious things – like why they need to hire you and not somebody else!

Secondly, your body language should exude confidence

Not everybody needs to be hugely outgoing. But if you are shy and reserved then you need to put some effort into coming across as confident. Because if you’re not confident in yourself, how can the interviewer be convinced that what you say is true? The easiest way to create an aura of confidence around you is to let your body speak for itself.

Thus, keeping the right posture throughout the interview is important. Try leaning your back straight against the chair. Sometimes even slightly leaning in when talking about your skills can make you come across as a confident and competent candidate.

Thirdly, illustrate your words with gestures

Many people hide their hands when they feel anxious, and this straight away signals incompetence. So stand out from the crowd and use your hands for subtle (emphasis on subtle) gestures, when speaking. Also, if you manage to place your palms up you will also be perceived as honest and energetic.

Lastly, depart on a good note

If you managed to make a good first impression, don’t ruin it by leaving the interview in a rush. Thus, plan your time well that day so that not only do you arrive relaxed but you also don’t have to rush to catch a train or get in the car the minute the interviewer stops asking questions. The best departing scenario would be standing up calmly, packing your belongings, smiling and nodding. Then a handshake with the interviewer(s) whether initiated by you or them.

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