If a picture is worth 1,000 words, imagine what poor in-person body language can communicate when you’re trying to give the perfect first impression. Job interviews can make anyone feel the heat while in the hot seat—it’s normal to be nervous, but a master’s degree may not help your career chances if you can’t master your mannerisms. Try these non-verbal interview tips that tell the hiring manager you’re the one for the job.
You get asked a lot of questions in a job interview, but one of them shouldn’t be if you have a staring problem. The goal is to be confident—not creepy. It’s important to look the interviewer in the eye, but know when to break away after a few seconds. Another effective way to ensure you’re looking interested and engaged is “direct face contact.” Try looking at different parts of his or her face every two seconds; rotating from eyes, to nose, to lips, so you're never just drilling into the interviewer's eyes.
When you’re trying to craft a selling response, it’s best to listen before you answer. Aside from keeping eye and face contact, nodding your head occasionally while listening is an additional way to show attentiveness. It shows that you’re enjoying and understand what’s being said. However, you’re a human not a marionette, so avoid fanatical nods that could mistake you for a puppet.
Just breathe. Take a (non-noticeable, gulping-for-air-type) deep breath while a question is being asked, and answer on the exhale following the air flow. Deep breathing engages our parasympathetic reaction, which calms us down. Also, try taking 10 deep, diaphragmatic breaths before the interview. This will reduce your heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormone level.
Aggressive fragrances have a tendency to overpower anyone’s nostrils, which could give the hiring manager the impression that you don’t have any common sense when it comes to office scents. You want to leave the interview with a lingering impression as to why you’re the right fit, not a cloud of perfume or cologne—so leave it off.
Mom was right when she said not to slouch, and a firm handshake is more palatable than a limp fish’d one when serving your candidacy for employment. Remember, body language is one that everyone can understand.