Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Improve Your Interview Body Language

Did you know that even if you rehearse all the answers for questions at a job interview you might not still be completely prepared?  Making sure you say the right things is tremendously important, but you also need to make sure you are saying those same things with your body language.  This may sound simple enough, but having proper interview body language involves more than just not slouching in your chair.  Even the simplest of gestures can turn a successful job interview upside down.  With this in mind, here are some body language tips to help you nail that non profit interview:
  • Avoid fidgeting at all costs.  As someone who is prone to this, I can say that this is definitely one of the hardest body language faux pas to avoid, but I can also attest that it is possible, even when you are nervous.  The best way to do this is to keep your hands in a relaxed state, either by resting them on your lap or on the table.  You could also do something to keep your hands occupied, such as holding your resume, or using hand gestures.  However...
  • Don't over do the hand gestures.  Using gestures to emphasize your points is effective, but you don't want to overwhelm the interviewer, either.  In other words, don't flail around with your hands; keep your gestures relaxed and slow.
  • While you don't want to slouch in your chair, you don't want to look too rigid either.  If you look like you are sitting up too straight, it can actually send a signal that you are nervous.  The key here is to be relaxed.  Do some breathing exercises before the interview to help this.
  • Convey interest with your facial expressions.  Even if your interviewer is remarkably boring, you are going to have to at least pretend that he/she is engaging.  Smile at appropriate moments; it may even help to take notes on certain things they say.  Whatever you do, don't just stare out into space, or right through the interviewer.
  • Speaking of which, don't nod too much.  If something the interviewer says makes sense, you can do this but just do it in moderation.  You don't want to look like a bobble head, do you?
  • If you have an itch, do your best to avoid scratching.  It's distracting and it can sort of look like fidgeting; especially if it's on your face.  If the itch is getting so bad as to distract you, you should probably do something about it, but don't make it too obvious.
And that's all I have for you for today.  Of course, there are many other techniques to improve your interview body language, so feel free to share any tips you have.

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