The very moment that you meet your interviewer, that’s when it happens: you make your first impression. Usually, that’s enough for the interviewer to determine whether you get hired or not. Your body language can make or break your interview. Read this article to get four tips on how to improve your chances.
Before you make your first impression “in the flesh”, you’ll have made your first impression by the profile picture you have selected. Usually this will be your LinkedIn profile picture.
Therefore it’s essential that you choose a suitable picture. Make sure that you flash that natural smile and look straight into the camera. A neutral background ensures that you are the focus of the picture, not your surroundings.
Another important factor: the height of the camera. The camera has to be at the same height as your face, or you’ll either look arrogant (picture taken from below) or weak/overly cute (picture taken from above).
You are probably going to be nervous before your application interview. That’s perfectly normal. But of course you do not want those nerves to be showing too much! Confidence is key here, as confident people are hired more often than nervous people.
The following is going to sound a little strange, but it works. Practice this before your interview: stand up and remember a moment when you felt proud. Now match your body language to that feeling. Keep that pose for a few minutes. You will start to feel more confident. That’s your body language at work: if you act confident then you will feel confident too.
Ideally you want to do this ‘Power Posing’ just before the interview as well, but it would look silly if that was your pose as you are waiting in the lobby. You can go to the bathroom and power pose for a minute or two there to boost your confidence.
I told you it’d be strange, but this technique really does work!
Whenever we are waiting for something nowadays we always take out our phone, but this is what usually happens: you roll your shoulders forward, look down and make yourself smaller to get closer to the screen. This is the opposite of the ‘Power Pose’.
This pose will lower your confidence and raise your stress levels. That’s the exact opposite of what you want to feel and project during the interview! So please, keep your phone pocketed, before it costs you that job you so dearly want.
So what’s an alternative? Well, a newspaper is your friend in this situation, it forces you to use expansive body language. You have to use your arms to hold the paper up or you won’t be able to read it. And, as a side benefit it will also make you look more educated than when reading something (even if it’s the same thing!) on your phone.
One of the most overlooked ways of boosting charisma is the use of your hands. Research has shown that the use of hand gestures is the key difference in mediocre and great TED talks. Now, I’m not telling you to start gesturing like an Italian (unless you happen to be applying in Italy). Your gestures have to be supporting your words.
So how do you do that? Here are a few ways to get you started:
“I want to help the company expand this project” – move your hands apart as you say expanding
“There are three reasons why this is true” – use your fingers to count the reasons
“How can I help you?” – gesture with your palm turned upwards to invite more reactions
There are far more gestures you can use, but don’t go completely overboard. Your gestures should support your words, not the other way around.
People can only focus on a few things at once. If you’re trying to expertly use body language AND have a tough interview, then you’re bound to miss something or mess something up. That’s why you need to practice. Get a roommate, family member or fellow applicant to rehearse the application with you so you have time to practice these techniques.
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