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How body language affects your interview

Prior to an interview, the only contact between you and a potential employer is your CV and cover letter. When you meet in person you should remember: first impressions count.
 
Remember to compose yourself and display positive body language during an interview, it can have as much of an effect on the outcome as your ability to actually do the job you’re being interviewed for.
 
These do’s and don’ts are essential for getting you through the interview with confidence and composure, show the hiring manager you’re at ease and ready to discuss key issues:
 

Do (where possible):

 
  • Compose yourself before entering your place of interview and check your appearance; take a look in a mirror and straighten your clothes.
  • Stand up when greeting your interviewers and be sure to use a firm handshake.
  • Make eye contact while greeting and saying goodbye to your interviewers.
  • Only sit down at the interview table after an interviewer has invited you to.
  • Mind your posture, stay sitting up straight. Keep your hands above the table and ensure you are in a position to make eye contact and speak clearly with all interviewers.
  • Be enthusiastic throughout your interview and use positive gestures such as nodding, agreeing and smiling when appropriate.
  • Stay professional until you’re well clear of the building, and only then is it safe to remove ties, loosen collars or change out of interview shoes.
 

Don’t:

 
  • Scratch or rub your head or neck and don’t play with your hair. You’ll appear disinterested, distracted and uncomfortable.
  • Drum your fingers or fidget with your hands on the table in front of you. It will make you seem nervous and easily distracted.
  • Wipe your nose, eyes or the side of your face. Worse than being nervous, it could make you look dishonest
  • Fold your arms across your chest. You’ll come across as guarded and unfriendly.
  • Rock back and forth or slouch down in your chair. You’ll look lazy and uninterested.
  • Keep crossing and re-crossing your legs. It makes you seem nervous and uncomfortable.
 
Positive, open body language comes from feeling confident and confidence stems from being prepared. If you’re equipped to show off your skills and ask the right questions there shouldn’t be anything to be afraid of. So, sufficient preparation is the crucial first step in projecting the right body language.
 
For more advice on preparing for an interview take a look at some of our other articles in the Michael Page Career Centre.