6 ways to use body language to your benefit in an interview
The importance of body language during an interview cannot be over-emphasized. While the interview may largely be an opportunity to talk about yourself and your suitability for a role, it is just as much about winning the confidence of your interviewer.
From the moment you step into an interview, how you use your voice, expressions and gestures can all contribute to making a positive impression. Here are a few simple but powerful body language techniques that will do wonders for your self-confidence while helping you come across as a strong candidate.
The first technique is the easiest. A genuine smile is one of the most powerful ways to create engagement and build a relationship. An interviewer will almost always return a smile, and all the mutual positivity will automatically set the right tone for the interview.
2. Show that you are listening
Avoid the temptation to check your watch, or look around the room too often. Instead, focus on your interviewer by facing them directly and maintain eye contact. Leaning forward, nodding, and tilting your head are other nonverbal ways to show you’re engaged and paying attention. It’s important to hear people and just as important to make sure they know you are listening.
3. Remove physical distractions
Move aside anything that blocks your view or forms a barrier between you and the interviewer (your bag, your phone, a glass of water). Physical obstructions can be distracting and will increase your likelihood of fidgeting with them.
4. Build rapport by mirroring
Mirroring (i.e. imitating body language) is a nonverbal way of saying that you agree with someone. It tends to be an automatic reaction when a conversation is going well, but you may be able to influence it a little to help build a connection quickly. Mirroring starts by observing a person’s facial and body gestures and then subtly letting your body take on similar postures eg, smiling, using gestures. Be subtle and try not to overdo it though, or it will start to look like a comedy routine!
5. Use gestures to support your words
Hand gestures play an important role in communication, helping you reinforce key points and words while. The science supports this, and says that gesturing as we talk can actually power up our thinking and help us speak more confidently. But again, try to keep your actions smooth, measured and natural.
6. Pause and breathe
Take a minute to breathe and pause before answering a question, this gives you time to react in a considered way and it ensures that the interviewer has finished the question. The pitch and tone of your voice are equally important body language tools. When nervous, people often tend to end their sentences with a raised pitch – making every comment sound like a question. Instead state everything as though it is a fact. It will make you sound more authoritative and confident.
The key to positive body language in an interview is self-awareness. Become aware of the signals you are sending and learn how to use your body to your advantage.