Body language is one of the most underrated parts of any interview, regardless of the fact that many interviewers say that what your body communicates to them is more important than any words you say. Fortunately, however, fixing your body language and learning how to properly werk your body requires little effort; just remember these simple tips!
- Work dat charisma: Chilling in the reception area
Your interview begins as soon as you walk into the building. Make sure your phone is turned off and away; one of the worst impressions you can make on your interviewer is being on your phone when she comes to meet you in the reception area. While waiting for the interview to begin, talk to the people around you in the reception area. Many times a candidate will claim to be a “people-person” in the interview, when right before the interview, they sat in the lobby completely closed off to everyone around them. Don’t be that person.
No one works a room better than Barack. Goals yo.
- Work dat hand: Firm handshake
An initial firm handshake can set the tone for the entire interview. Start with your hand parallel to the ground and wrap your thumb and fingers all the way around your interviewer’s hand. Make sure you grip your interviewer’s hand firmly and hold it for around five seconds. When interviewing in Western countries, a distance of about two feet is usually appropriate, more for Asian countries, less for Middle Eastern and Latin American countries. When your right hand is shaking the interviewer’s hand, your left hand should be out of your pockets and by your side. Remember the difference between firm and painful; you definitely don’t want hurt your interviewer! Great handshakes tell your interviewer you’re confident, passionate, and can command respect…all before you’re even asked a single question!
- Work dat back: Sit up straight
Remember that the interview will make or break your chances of getting the position, thus slouching or reclining in your chair is a definite no-no. Sitting up straight will also help you breathe properly, as it will allow more oxygen into your lungs. Don’t lean on the arm rests; try to sit in the center of the seat and simply rest one arm on the armrest, with your feet planted firmly on the ground. If you know you slouch a lot, try to mentally check your posture (and correct it if needed!) after answering each question.
Tom Cruise is not goals.
- Work those eyes: Eye contact
Consistent eye contact can facilitate a more comfortable interview experience, as it communicates emotion and passion. Looking at the ground or at the ceiling when talking can tell your interviewer that you’re disrespectful, afraid of making eye contact, or just aloof. Shoot for making strong eye contact during at least 80% of the interview.
Eye contact can be scary, but try to practice in the mirror or with friends so you don’t end up sobbing when the interviewer looks at you.
- Work those lips: Smile
Going an entire 20 or 30 minute interview without smiling is not only unnatural, but conveys that you are mean, rude, nervous, psychotic, or all of the above. Smiling can show you’re confident about what you’re saying and are enjoying the time the interviewer is spending with you. When talking about something you’re passionate about, say the summer camp you worked at or the research project you’re starting this semester: smile! It tells your interviewer this is something that is important for you and lets your personality shine.
- Work those hands: Use some hand gestures
A tasteful amount of hand gestures are an excellent way of communicating your passion for what you’re talking about. When asked to explain something technical, use your hands to convey the size of the parts. Such actions enable your personality to come through and will leave you as a more memorable applicant to the interviewer. Make sure to keep all gestures within the width/center of your body, preferably in front of your chest. Moving your hands out of this area will be highly distracting to your interviewer.
In her typical style, Miley shows us what not to do.
- Work those lungs: Relax, breathe
The most important thing to remember when going into an interview is that if you’ve been asked to interview, odds are the company already likes your resume! Work this to your advantage and let it boost your ego and your confidence. The interview is just meant for the company to get a feel for your personality and see whether you would be a good fit. Soooo keep it professional, of course, but let your personality shine through. Practice square breathing if you know you get anxious. If you feel as if you’re about to choke, stumble on your words, or just don’t know how to initially answer a question, take a deep breath. It’s better to have a pause of a few seconds than to stutter. Breathe. Relax. You got this.