Body language

Getting lots of interviews but not getting the job? Perhaps it’s time to take a look at your body language.

A great CV means nothing if you can’t make eye contact with the interviewer or employer. An interviewer will assume their first impression with you is the exact same impression their customers will get, so make it count. A good chunk of an interviewer’s impression will come from your body language. There are common body language mistakes we all make, but the good news is that anyone can improve.

It can be really difficult to identify these things when you’re in regular everyday conversation, and you have to make an effort if you are to learn how to identify your body language mistakes. You can do this by simulating an interview environment with friends or family members. Explain what you’re trying to achieve, ask someone to sit across from you at a desk or a large meeting table and dress exactly as you would for a job interview. Have your CV printed out in front of you and ensure there are no distraction like children, television or other people. Find some sample interview questions online and have them ask you these questions, making notes on your body language. At the end you can debrief, and discuss areas for improvement. Once you are aware of your body language, you can then work on improving it. Try this one-on-one or with a small group of people, the more people you do this with, the better you will get. Just make sure you do this exercise with someone who will be honest with you, and most importantly professional.

DO

  • Rest your hands loosely on your lap or the table
  • Sit up straight
  • Maintain a respectful and conservative level of eye contact
  • Smile and relax
  • Give a firm handshake, ensuring you make eye contact

DON’T

  • Cross your arms, you will look hostile
  • Lean forward or slouch, it’s sloppy
  • Look at your hands when answering a question
  • Avoid eye contact, it makes you look bored and disinterested
  • Frown

These subconscious factors really count. Great body language that leaves a lasting impression could just be the boost that you need to land that job. These tips will also help when asking for more money, a promotion, or something more during performance reviews. Get it right and you could be on the fast track at your organisation. To read more on this topic, take a look at this Seek article.