Watch Your Interview Body Language
Robert Ordona | for HotJobs
Savvy job seekers know how important choosing the right words is when we communicate with prospective employers — but what about nonverbal communication?
“You could be saying how great you are,” says image consultant and “Hello Job! How to Psych Up, Suit Up, & Show Up” author Alison Craig, “but your body could be giving your true feelings away.” Mark Bowden, the author of “Winning Body Language” agrees with Craig—and with the highly regarded Mehrabian communication study, which found that if what’s coming out of your mouth doesn’t match what your body is saying, your audience is more likely to believe your body.
Here’s some expert advice on how to effectively let your body do the talking in a job interview:
Making a great entrance
Craig and Bowden agree that the interview starts even before you get to the interview room: “You don’t know who could be in the parking lot with you, looking at you from a window, or standing next to you in the elevator,” says Craig. “Your body should tell anyone who might be watching that you’re confident and calm. It’s not the time to be frantically searching through your portfolio for printouts of your resume.”
Show your good side
Hiring managers often ask receptionists for their take on people who come to the office for interviews, so Bowden suggests letting them observe you without letting on that you know they’re watching. “Sit with your profile to them,” he says. “It makes them feel comfortable, and if they’re comfortable, they’re more likely to form a good impression.”
Craig suggests trying to predict the direction your interviewer will come from, so you can sit facing that direction. It’ll make the greeting more graceful.
While waiting, don’t hunch your shoulders or tuck your chin into your chest, which will make you seem closed off. Sit with your back straight and your chest open—signs that you’re confident and assertive. “But don’t take this to the extreme,” cautions Bowen. “Elongating your legs or throwing your arm across the back of the chair can make you appear too comfortable, even arrogant.”
Also, says Craig, don’t have so much stuff on your lap that you’re clumsily moving everything aside when you’re called. You want to rise gracefully, without dropping things, so you can smoothly greet the person coming to get you.