Interviews are high-stress situations. With so much on the line, we all get a little jittery. Naturally it is common practice to prepare religiously for tough questions you may be asked, but there could be one thing you’ve forgotten to take into consideration–your body language. Believe it or not, body language can make or break the deal. Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of helpful body language tips to help you achieve a successful interview and get yourself hired:
1. Prepare yourself for the first impression.
According to body language expert Tonya Reiman, people make snap judgments about one another in 1/10th of a second. It is important to note that from there, people will only try to reinforce the truth behind the judgment call they made, whether it was accurate or not. You need to ensure your first impression is a positive one, by being well-groomed (but not overdone), using open body language (don’t cross your arms), and standing as straight and tall as you can. Don’t slouch for a minute–according to statistics, each inch of height you can muster can potentially translate to an extra 1 to 2% higher salary. Another study by the University of Pittsburgh found that men 6’2 and taller were likely to achieve a 12% higher salary than men under 6 feet.
2. Master the handshake.
The importance of a firm, strong handshake could never be too exaggerated. In almost every situation, handshakes are the first, and often the only, physical contact you ever make with a person. If your handshake is sweaty, limp, and lifeless, you will likely be viewed as an immediate “no,” as opposed to someone who meets their interviewer’s hand full palm and firmly, smiling confidently and making direct eye contact. Can you picture the difference?
3. Walk with a purpose. Act like your time means something to you.
If you find that you’re early or your interview will be delayed, don’t just stand around. You need to send the message that you value your time. Politely accept the delay, and then take a seat and work on something–a project, presentation, article–anything. When it is time for your interview, walk confidently towards the interviewer. The way you walk could be part of the 1/10th snap judgment about you, so you don’t want to shuffle around appearing lost. You want your walk to prove you are confident and comfortable in your own skin.
4. Mirror during conversation.
Now that a positive first impression has been achieved, you need to reinforce the idea that you are confident and capable. One slightly tricky way to accomplish this is to read and mirror the body language of the person interviewing you (you can do this with anyone). When they smile, smile. If they use a lot of gestures when speaking, do the same. This kind of behavior sends a subconscious message to the other person that you are just like them. This is a huge benefit to you, as people tend to prefer those they can relate to. The important thing is to not overdo it to the point where it becomes obvious to the interviewer.
5. Speak quickly and confidently
The way you speak is just about as important as the words that actually come out of your mouth. It just so happens that fast-paced speaking increases your persuasiveness and trustworthiness. The theory is that if you speak quickly enough, the brain doesn’t have enough time to process the information. Thus, it simply absorbs the information without any attempt to contradict.
Besides that, a faster speaking rate helps keep the listener attentive, and makes you appear like an expert in your field. Practice your answers to questions that will likely be asked, and have your material down cold. This way, you’ll hardly have to think about your answers and your quick responses will make you appear intelligent to the interviewer.
By following these five scientific steps, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a successful interview and getting back on your feet with that new job.