More Than Words: Interview Body Language July 8, 2010Posted by careersuccessions in Uncategorized.
Tags: career, career successions, find a better job, get a better job, interview, interviewing, job interview, job search
As we’ve said before, landing a job interview is no easy task, especially when the economic environment means that job competition is up and actual hiring is down. So let us here at Career Successions take one more step in preparing you for the face-to-face.
Of course you know that everything you say in an interview is of the utmost importance, but what do may be equally as important. According to Wharton University, human beings use all five senses to take in information from the world around them. Of those five senses, retention of information passed on verbally only accounts for about 11% of retention, while visual information accounts for a whopping 51% of information retention! Countless studies have shown that body language accounts for more than half of how we relay messages to one another, while words get less than 10%. That said, you can see how what you do carries its own level of significance.
The Right Level of ‘Relax’
Many of us find ourselves fighting nerves when we walk into an interview, and it’s totally normal to feel the butterflies! At the same time, try and be as calm and professional as possible. Your nerves can help keep you on your toes, but being overtly uncomfortable or nervous will surely be distracting to the interviewer and can cause them to question your capabilities. Self confidence goes a long way!
Being relaxed doesn’t mean, however, that you should be unprofessional. Be respectful, use professional language, and keep a professional demeanor. Self confidence and comfort do not justify leaning back and putting your feet up, using slang or overly friendly language (“What up, braaa” probably shouldn’t be your greeting of choice), or “making yourself at home” in your interviewer’s office (It’s pretty safe to say that propping yourself on the edge of the hiring manager’s desk while you fondle photos of his family and engage in casual conversation isn’t the best move and, more importantly probably won’t get you hired).
If you’re anything like me, these two words were drilled into your head growing up. “Stand up straight!” my mother used to yell. “You don’t want to be a hunchback when you get older, do you?!”
No, mom, I don’t – and you don’t want to make your interviewer wonder if that’s what you’re going for either. It may seem trivial, but sit up straight! It speaks wonders for your self-confidence when you aren’t hunched forward or slouched down in your chair. Body language – and first impressions – are powerful! Keep in mind what your posture says about you.
Look Danger in the Eye
Or, in this case, your interviewer. Eye contact is a vital part of effective communication. When you maintain eye contact, you present an air of confidence in yourself and what you are communicating. If you lose eye contact or focus on everything else but the person you are speaking to, you may not be taken seriously and the truth in your points may be lost. Failing to maintain eye contact during a conversation can send mixed signals to the person you are speaking with – and the last person to whom you want to send mixed signals is the person who will be deciding that fate of your potential employment.
So, remember – just as much as you need to be aware of the things you say to your interviewer, you need to be equally as aware of the things you do. Your body language during an interview can make or break your chances at landing the job, regardless of how qualified you may be and how eloquently you may speak.
Check out CareerSuccessions.com for more tips on acing your interview, as well as countless other aspects of your job search!