Body language at an interview

It is often said the most of what is said is not expressed in words. The tone of voice, facial expression and also and especially the attitude and gestures count for much in the message that you want to convey. The problem is that many of these elements are subconscious. Learn how to master them to succeed in your professional interview.

The handshake for a first impression
While a glance at your outfit has already given your potential employer a first impression, the handshake will serve to reinforce it, deny it or even improve it. Find the right blend – too soft and you will be thought to lack self-assurance or energy, to firm and you will seem arrogant or aggressive. Think as well that although nervousness is understandable, sweaty palms are uninviting, so wash them just before entering the room.

An open attitude… But too open
Be aware that folded arms are a red flag for recruiters – it is a closed and defensive position that puts them off. Sit in a relaxed way, hands in front of you, on your lap, for example. But don’t relax too much – slumping against the backrest with legs wide open is not good either! Ideally, stay leaning forward slightly, which signals that you are paying attention.

Parasitic gestures to avoid
Spending all the time with your hand on your face, playing with your hair, or worse, twirling a pen – there are many little tics that can quickly annoy your counterpart while calling attention to your stress. To keep your fingers busy, take notes, for examples. Or, if you already tend to turn or click any pen that happens to fall into your hand, simply don’t pick it up and keep your arms on the armrests.

Be careful where you look
A shifty look is not pleasant and does not inspire confidence. Look at your counterpart in the eyes.  without fixing your gaze too intently! Just find a happy medium. When you are thinking, you can look away for a few seconds seeking a recollection or the right wording. But always end up going back to the recruiter.

Most important – be yourself
This goes both for your gestures and for what you say. If you are a very expansive type, you can’t completely stop yourself from moving – it will appear unnatural and is a factor of additional stress which will prevent you from concentrating on the questions and your answers, being too busy telling yourself to stay still. Similarly, if your a rather reserved person that doesn’t stir much, it’s not the time to make yourself talk with your hands! Anything counterintuitive risks doing more harm than good. You can make some efforts, but don’t change who you are.

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