Guide to Interviewing – Part Three – What your Body Language says about you

Interviewers will start to make judgement about you as soon as you enter the room.  These first impressions are very powerful in influencing their final decisions, however relevant they are to successful job performance.

How you present yourself

  • When walking and standing, keep your posture well.  When seated do not lean too far forward or backward nor adopt a bolt-upright position.
  • Try to open up your body and only move forward when you want to show interest.
  • Give the interviewer as much eye contact as you can – to catch their attention, when
    you are not speaking to them, when you would like to get into the conversation,
    but do not stare them out.
  • Try to maintain open postures with your hands, arms and body. Do not fold and cross arms, do not clench and unclench fists.
  • Try not to talk too fast or too slowly.  You will be appreciated best if you can divide your time more or less equally between being seen to talk and listen. Make sure you can be heard without deafening the interviewer and are modulating your voice a little from time to time for the sake of emphasis and
  • Eye contact is important.  Research suggests that if you make contact more than 65% of the time, you could be making the other person feel uncomfortable.  Alternatively, if you make eye contact for less than about 50% of the time, you could be seen as untrustworthy.

Develop your Listening Skills

Your listening skills are important.  Possibly for as much as half the interview time, you will be required to listen.  Ideally a trained interviewer will be encouraging you to talk more than half of the time.  Only by listening can you discover what other people want and how you can satisfy their needs.  It is vital that you remain an attentive listener throughout your interview.  You cannot afford to let your thoughts wander off in to any of your “hidden agendas” – the other things on your mind, which are unrelated to what is going
on in front of you.

As a good listener you will:

  • Make eye contact
  • From time to time nod up and down to show agreement and understanding
  • Let the speaker talk without interrupting
  • From time to time ask for clarification of what has been said
  • Keep your prejudices and emotions under control
  • Keep your mind open until the speaker has finished and don’t try to evaluate what is
    being said halfway through the statement

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