Most employers will say that they know whether a candidate is a good fit for the role within the first few minutes of meeting them. Seeing as your CV has already got you this far and demonstrated your experience and qualifications, it means that the way you come across in person is now key to getting the job. Body language is a funny thing, because it’s the only language you can’t hear yourself communicate but believe me it speaks volumes to those around you. So when you go in for any interview, meeting or Agency registration it’s really important you do everything you can to make sure that the initial impression you give of yourself is the best you possibly can. Here are a few things to avoid doing:
1) Arm Folding – folded arms are an absolute no- no. You might not realize you’re doing it – maybe your cold, maybe you’re self-conscious but believe me, regardless of the reason it sends out the message that you’re insecure or defensive and puts a barrier between you and the interviewer. Channel your inner ‘Queen’ or ‘King’, they would never sit with their arms folded.
2) Lack of eye contact- Like arm folding, this can be perfectly innocent and usually a sign of a lack of confidence. We know all too well how intimidating it can feel when someone looks you in the eye and that the temptation to look away is there, but again the best way to show you’re engaged and paying attention is to look an employer directly in the eye. If you want to build a rapport and better connection then this is absolutely key. Resist the urge to look everywhere else but in their eyes – but don’t stare!!
3) Not smiling- You’ve already displayed in black and white that you are capable of doing the job, hence the invite for the interview, but now you need to show them you have a personality and more importantly likeability factor and there is no better way to do this then with a simple smile. We know an interview is a nerve-wracking experience but just relax into the flow, have happy thoughts and smile!!
4) Poor Posture- there are two extremes with posture, either appearing too tense or too relaxed. You want to appear professional but calm, relaxed but attentive, confident but not cocky. So once seated do not sit hunched forward but do not also lounge back with your arms and legs everywhere. Sitting up straight with your shoulders down will make you look more confident but also show respect to the interviewer.
5) Fidgeting – This is an instant tell-tell that you are nervous and maybe bored. Avoid shifting in your seat and foot tapping as much as possible. All your gestures should be open and expressive and not like you drink 20 cups of coffee a day. It can help to do a mock interview with a friend, maybe video yourself so you can see exactly what you’re doing and where to make improvements with your body language.
Ultimately most body language mistakes come from nerves and a lack of confidence, but remember it’s not about being confident it’s about acting confident. So even if you aren’t the most confident person, you need to fake it until you make it ladies and gents.