Body Language and Image in Interviews
Did you realize that non-verbal cues like body language are around five times as potent as verbal ones? And “first impressions” that are made visually have the largest impact on whether an interviewer has a positive or negative opinion of you, typically during the first five minutes.
Your success depends on how carefully you maintain your “image” because of this. Everything you do, from entering the reception area to conversing with recruiters and possible employers, is being examined, both subconsciously and consciously. For this reason, it’s crucial to present yourself with self-assurance and a cheerful attitude. Not brashly, not arrogantly, but by being prepared (doing your study), coming off as enthusiastic and interested in the position, as well as by meeting the interviewer.
The interview shouldn’t be seen as a test, but rather as an opportunity for amicable information exchange. Read on to know how you can manage your body language and image in interviews.
Body Language and Image in Interviews: The Keys to Success
When seeing someone for the first time, an interviewer may base their decision on these factors of body language and image in interviews:
- Eye contact
- Personal Grooming
- Body Expression
Avoid the “programmer’s slouch” caused by long hours in front of a computer at all costs. Exercise and a healthy life-balance contribute long-term to great posture and well-being. However, in the short term even the healthiest candidates, if feeling particularly intimated, will need to check that they are maintaining a good posture.
During the interview, sit up straight with your bottom into the back of the chair. This will ensure good posture and project interest and alertness. You may wish to lean forward at certain points during the conversation, but avoid taking up the interviewer’s “personal space” or appearing too eager or even desperate. Again, it’s a good idea to dress professionally.
2. Eye Contact
When asked to recall work examples, there is a natural tendency for people to look down or up as they process the request, so make sure that you maintain comfortable eye contact after you have accessed your (well practiced) example. Looking directly at the person you are speaking to is interpreted as a gesture of interest, trust, and confidence, so make sure that this is done throughout the interview – about 80% of the time.
It is advised to grin during the majority of the interview as this will naturally put both the interviewer and yourself at ease. You may also utilize a nod of the head to demonstrate understanding and agreement.
Natural eye contact, smiling, good posture, and the confident “body language” suggestions below only get better with practice. It should be noted that coming up with a “death stare” is equally distracting. Shy people may find it difficult to maintain a long eye contact and may even try to over-compensate.
3. Personal Grooming
Men should maintain clean facial hair, clean fingernails, and use deodorant. For women, light makeup with natural lipstick shades, and light or no perfume work best. Ideally, clean your teeth before the interview so that your breath will be smelling fresh. Alternatively, you could eat breath mints. Under no circumstances should you be either chewing gum or have a muff.
If you smoke cigarettes, please make sure that neither your hair nor your clothes smell of cigarettes as this might be quite unprofessional to employers.
On the day of the interview, leave for the interview early to ensure there is plenty of spare time should a delay occur. This will reduce the chance of you looking and feeling flustered during the crucial beginning of the interview. Also, remember to give yourself plenty of time before the interview to attend to your hair, cool down, or touch up. It is advisable that you have a practice run to reach the interview place on time.
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The general rule in the IT industry is to dress conservatively and professionally, especially for the interview. For men, a well-maintained modern suit with a conservative tie is ideal. Avoid all loud colors and distracting patterns. Plain color shirts, color-matched ties, and dark suits work best. Attention to detail, such as wearing black polished business shoes and plain dark socks, is also important.
Don’t make the mistake of distracting the interviewer with obvious fashion mistakes – anything that is loud, old, or out of place could count against you. Remember that recruiters assess candidates for a living and can quickly assess inappropriate business attire. Dress on the conservative side unless you are an expert in color coordination.
Overall, all candidates are advised to dress appropriately as discussed above, as well as for confidence and comfort. Essentially something that includes these factors and makes you feel good is ideal! Women have more options when it comes to appropriate interview dress, which can include many variations of colors, skirt or pants, etc. But again, the general safest rule is to think “corporate.”
5. Body Expression
Try to avoid sitting with your arms crossed or with your legs crossed higher than your ankles as this can be interpreted as a defensive or arrogant gesture. Alternatively, if this doesn’t feel natural to you, another option is to put your feet one in front of the other with your back foot raised with your other foot flat on the floor.
The less you use your arms and hands when speaking, the more powerful you will come across in the interview. If you tend to use your hands frequently while speaking, try to limit this since it will break your eye contact and divert the interviewer’s attention from your remarks.
‘Mirroring’ the interviewer’s body language is also a good technique because, as the saying goes, “like people attract.” If you reflect back the interviewer’s body language, you are more likely to make a good impression and make them feel at ease.
Interview Preparation Advice
- Aim to arrive 10 minutes early for the interviews so that you won’t feel rushed or hot and flustered when you get there. If you have extra time, find a quiet place nearby to collect your thoughts and consider the questions you might be asked. If you are running late, always make sure that the employer or recruiter is informed, an apology is extended, and an estimated time of arrival is provided.
- Call sooner rather than later if circumstances “beyond your control” prevent you from making it to an interview or meeting on time.
- One folio/satchel with a pen and paper, along with any questions you may wish to answer, is sufficient. You don’t want to be fumbling around with folders, bags, and pens when the interviewer comes to greet you.
- Make sure your handshake is firm and forthright, lasting as long as the interviewer shakes it for, and always initiate the handshake when you greet the interviewer or interviewers.
- Avoid making nervous or uneasy gestures like tapping your feet or shifting in your seat.
Be prepared by thoroughly researching the position and employer well in advance of the interview. You can frequently review a company’s website or ask the recruiter for more information before the interview. Your task is to learn as much as you can about the culture and goals of the organization, including the size, various locations, the type of people who may work there and in what capacities.
Frequently Asked Questions about Body Language and Image in Interviews
What role does posture play during an interview?
Maintaining proper posture at an interview once you sit down is essential. Avoid slouching or hunching; sitting up straight not only communicates confidence, but studies have shown that it also makes you feel more like a leader.
Why is Slouching inappropriate during interviews?
You’ll want candidates who care enough to sit up straight during their interview. Slouching is a red flag, showing a lack of self-confidence and respect for interviewers. Sitting on a chair’s edge and leaning forward is typically favorable body language.
Is lying during a job interview a must for everyone?
But being dishonest can come back to bite you. Just how far are you ready to go to achieve your ideal job? According to the study, unique engagement is perceived more as a game or competition.
What must I absolutely never say in an interview?
Discussions of pay, benefits, and holidays. Instead, try to wait until they make you a job offer before you start negotiating on benefits, vacation time, and pay, unless these topics are first brought up by the interviewer.
Final Words on Body Language and Image in Interviews
Confidence, when combined with your existing skills, will make you a much stronger candidate than someone who, on paper, has the same or slightly more experience than you, but poor body language skills and image. Maintaining a good body language and image in interviews sends a strong message to a recruiter or potential employer that you will be able to perform on the job.
Instead, we recommend that you practice projecting a strong confident image, relax and try to make the most of this experience to highlight your skills, experience, and personal strengths. You may only get one chance to make an impression so make that opportunity count! Most people under-sell themselves in interviews, seeing it as a competitive situation requiring fight or flight responses.