The effective use of body language plays a key role in communication. Many of our communication training, I cover an aspect of body language to them. Here are a few important tips for powerful body language I’ve learned during the past two decades of my career.
Maintain your body posture at all times
Keep your body posture straight, attentive, and slightly leaning forward rather than bent and lazy. Never sit with your legs and arms crossed narrowly since it gives the impression that you’re not ready to accept their views or open to challenges. Also, don’t keep your hands in a way which disrupts the direct eye contact with your interviewer. Be confident in your seat and walk out confidently as well. Sit straight with your legs slightly open or crossed broadly.
It is necessary for you to shake hands firmly and confidently but does not go overboard with it. A soft grip means a weak grip on difficult situations and no interviewer wants to see that. Though it would not make them directly avoid your application, it does make a horrible first impression and you don’t want that.
Don’t be too self-engrossed or rigid
The interview does not start when you sit in front of the HR and answer his/her questions. It begins when you enter the office and enquire at the reception. Yes, employers tend to take your personality’s review from the reception itself. They want to know how you normally behave in front of people, how you try to break the ice between yourself and the other people in that office. Smile when you make eye contact with anyone, nod your head as a polite gesture, or wish them a good morning. It’s necessary and quite easy.
Make yourself comfortable
While you’re giving your interview, take care of your needs. Prepare a checklist in advance so that you have everything in place like notepads, certificates, pen etc. During the interview, speak up to ask for what you want, with a polite smile and a confident eye contact. If you feel thirsty, ask for a glass of water then and there, else your interview might not go that great! This will make your interviewers assured that you possess the right traits for teamwork.
Make eye contact and smile
We smile our best at a casual gathering. Likewise, it is necessary to smile in a formal interview as well. Employers always look for a person who is flexible and polite. Hence a grim and disinterested face might add you to their bad books. Keep the conversation light, make eye contact because it will show your confidence level and transparent conduct, and don’t forget to smile a little. If there are three people in the panel, have a 15-20 second eye contact with each of them.
Search for a ‘power pose’ and practice it
We have talked about poses and how they help us to assume certain stances that can impress our interviewers. When we feel confident, we tend to occupy a lot of space by spreading our legs and arms. While this pose might be helpful, it can also lead to an impression which suggests that you are overconfident. Amy Cuddy in her Ted talk explains how poses actually work and can be improved.
Try to follow the interviewer’s footsteps
While walking to the interview cabin, it is the best time to adjust yourself to the demeanor of your interviewer. When he comes to call for you, trace his footsteps, follow him swiftly, and see how his arms move. Try to mirror the movements but not like frantic actors. Allowing yourself to follow their footsteps will give them a hint that you’re ready to follow their lead and adjust. Trust us, it is a good sign.
Never hold anything in your lap
The slim portfolio with all your important documents and presentation should be on your table, not inside your bag. Take it out before going to the interview. Keep it on the table. Keep your mobile switched off or in airplane mode and put it in the bag or in the lower pocket. People unknowingly place their briefcases, purses, bags etc. on their laps while giving an interview and it does nothing but confirms your restricted personality to the interviewer. Place your bag, by your side and be clear in your gestures. Sit a foot away from the table so that your gestures are clearly visible to them.
Place your feet firmly or cross your legs correctly
Show your open palms in gestures, to gain the trust of the interviewers. Use head and hand gestures but subtly. Use hand gestures to add a strong conviction. Place your feet on the ground firmly. Ladies, please do not cross your legs at the knees, but at the ankles.
Ending the interview well is as important as starting it properly
After all the questions are answered by you and the panel has interviewed you completely, there comes the last test of your body language. If you are too eager to stand and leave, they’ll be sure about your nervousness and need for fresh air. Stand up calmly, collect your stuff, smile a little, and nod your head while expressing your gratitude. A polite “Thank you, sir. I would hope to hear from the company soon”, will just be perfect. Shaking hands is an important ritual again.
Try to reach towards perfection while understanding and applying these body language tips in your own gestures and postures during an interview.
Lastly, have a smooth exit. Don’t try to judge the panel’s body language because they are trained to not give away much. Exit smoothly and smile towards people who make eye contact with you while you leave.
These were some quick tricks to use body language in your favor and we hope that these would help you immensely. All the best for your interview!