Job interviews are one of the many steps in the process of landing your dream job. They go hand in hand with perfecting your resume and cover letters.  Once you get to the interview stage, you deserve a pat on the back. Just don’t get too comfortable there because now it’s time to nail that interview.  How you interact and engage with your interviewer will go far beyond what you presented on paper. Your work experience may clearly show your accomplishments and ambition, but what does your body language say about you?

Body language is a powerful form of communication.  It’s also one that doesn’t often get enough consideration among interviewees. Learning how to present yourself through body language can showcase not only your professionalism but also your authentic personality.

Be prepared and arrive early.

By being prepared and arriving early to your interview, whether virtual or in person, you will naturally present yourself more calmly than if you had just rushed through getting ready and had to break lots of speeding laws to make it on time.  Rather than rushing to make it on time, give yourself some margin.  Prepare the day before. Then, while you wait for your interviewer, avoid catching up on emails or text messages that could distract you from what you’re there for.  Instead, spend that time considering any questions you may have regarding the position you’re interviewing for or researching more about the company.

Be responsive in interactions.

Using nonverbal cues that indicate you’re listening to the interviewer can go a long way.  Things like nodding, smiling, and leaning forward when something interesting is said are all actions that show the interviewer you understand what they’re saying and agree or are intrigued by their statements.

Think twice about wearing new shoes or a new outfit.

Being uncomfortable is an issue that can be distracting for both you and your interviewer.  The interviewer can misinterpret body shifting and general motions of discomfort, and they may misconstrue your body language to mean you’re put off by what they’re saying or asking.  Rather than going with something new for the interview, go with something tried and tested that you know you’ll be comfortable in.

Consider your posture.

How we carry our bodies tells a lot about us unconsciously.  How you are positioned in the interview will give the interviewer a sense of your level of confidence.  Posture is one of the first cues we have to determine how we are heard and seen by others around us.  Slouching can come off as a lack of energy, enthusiasm, and confidence.  Alternatively, being too stiff can be associated with nervousness or even unfriendliness.

Be mindful of your hands,

It’s important to remember that interviewers are trying to get a sense of who you are.  It’s not just about your capabilities to get the job done but also about how you’ll fit in the company culture.  Truthfully, you’ll be happiest in a place where you can be your authentic self, so you’ll want to let your personality shine through.  If you naturally talk with your hands, let it flow naturally.  Stifling a natural trait can actually lead to unnecessary stiffness or fidgeting, which can be misconstrued. If you’re not talking, put your hands in a neutral position and hold them still.  The best place to rest your hands is usually on your lap or on the table or desk in front of you, if you have one.

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