You might be prepared, but there's something you missed. Don’t mess up your ticket to becoming a fully-fledged nine-to-fiver by unwittingly sending the wrong message.
Here’s the scenario:
For what feels like weeks, you waited with bated breath for a response to your brilliant CV, so you’re over-the-moon when the HR manager confirms an interview date. You’re so stoked that (with all due respect) Michael Jackson’s moon walk has nothing on the moves you’re pulling right now.
After browsing Careers24 for tips on what and what not to say, what to wear, the company culture and yourself (you don’t want to leave the interview questioning your own identity), you’re pretty confident you’ll have the interviewer at hello.
So what have you missed?
Don’t mess up your ticket to becoming a fully-fledged nine-to-fiver by sending the wrong message, unwittingly, through your body language. Usually this occurs unconsciously, but in an interview situation you can’t afford to leave anything to chance. By becoming conscious of your body language you can control even more of the message you convey.
We’re here to help:
1. Give a firm handshake
Interviews are an opportunity for employers to see if you will fit into the company culture. From the moment you walk through the door, they are looking for anything that sets you apart, and your handshake can make or break your first impression. A strong grip and steady eye contact signal your enthusiasm, confidence and competence.
But don’t dislocate the interviewer’s shoulder
Refrain from giving an overzealous handshake. You don’t want to come across as arrogant, or leave the interviewer distracted by a tender hand. But a weak, soft or wobbly handshake could mean that you’re passive, insecure or trustworthy. Practice with a friend if you don’t think you can get it right first time.
2. Bring your poker face
From the way you raise your eyebrows to the way you break into a smile, your facial expressions can speak volumes about your thoughts and emotions. You want to appear approachable and friendly, so give a genuine smile. Nodding and raising your eyebrows will show that you agree. Remember to also maintain eye contact with your interviewer.
But don’t spook the interviewer
Yes, it’s important that you appear friendly, but as if you’ve just had a face lift that’s left you looking like Ramona Singer from the Real Housewives of New York City. Neither is staring back blankly. This is a look associated with people who are attempting to distance themselves, and one you want to avoid.
3. Be mindful of your posture
Having good posture isn’t only beneficial for your back, it’s also good for business. Whether you’re seated or standing, when done right, your posture will make you look interested and engaged. So sit up and lean slightly forward in your chair. You’ll easily give an impression of being fully engaged in the conversation. When seated, firmly plant your feet on the floor. Crossing them may be taken as being casual and relaxed. But that’s completely appropriate. You’re human, not a robot.
But don’t get too comfortable
When your back touches the back of the chair, there’s a good chance that without even realizing it you’ll start slouching. This could indicate that you’ve either become too comfortable, are disinterested or unprepared. Fidgeting or shifting while standing will convey that you’re nervous or anxious.
This may seem like a lot of work, but whether you say something or not, your body language will make some strong statements for you. So make sure you pay just as much attention to what you’re doing as what you’re saying in your interview.