Your suit, your smile, your voice, and how you introduce yourself all play a part in making a great impression during an interview. One of the most important factors in presenting yourself with a positive impact is your body language.
A pivotal study done in the early 1970’s by Albert Mehrabian showed that words only account for 7% of overall communication of feelings and attitudes such as confidence, warmth, or positivity. Your tone of voice accounts for 38% of that communication about feelings and attitudes. Body language makes up 55%. Over half our communication about how we feel or react is done through facial expression, gestures, and posture.
Many hiring influencers say they can tell from the first couple of minutes whether a candidate is worth pursuing. That’s a very limited window to make a positive impact!
How can you be sure your body language reinforces your positive message that you are confident, easy to work with, and interested? How can you look like a great candidate for the job you want? The best way is to practice in front of a mirror until you’re sure you look as positive as you sound, and then practice with a trusted friend or family member. Once you’re comfortable and confident, your positive body language is interview-ready!
What does positive, confident, interested body language look like?
- Offer a firm, quick handshake. It’s a great positive introduction and shows confidence.
- Make eye contact. Focus on a single eye so your eyes don’t “shift” focus from eye-to-eye.
- Not constantly, but often. It shows you are confident, likeable, and engaged.
- Ensure feet point to interviewer. This shows your attention is focused.
- Keep your eyes fully open, and don’t squint. Shows interest and a positive attitude.
- Use hand gestures in moderation. Hand gestures can emphasize your words.
- Mirror your interviewers body language slightly. Without being too obvious, lean forward if they do, use similar gestures. It shows interest and engagement.
- Lower your head. You can gaze elsewhere occasionally breaking eye contact, but looking at the floor or your shoes suggests you’re ashamed or hiding something.
- Squinting shows unhappiness or discomfort.
- Over-blink. Blinking often shows anxiety.
- Touch your hair or face. It shows anxiety or boredom, neither is a positive.
- Bounce or jiggle your foot/knee. Crossing your legs is fine if you like, but wiggling, bouncing, or waving your foot/knee is a sign of boredom, and quite insulting to the hiring influencer you want to impress.
- Keep your back straight but not stiff. Your mother was right, good posture gives a good impression that you are paying attention!
- Use expansive or wild gestures. It looks artificial, and can make you seem immature.