How long does it take you to judge a person?
Yes… it is not right to judge anyone by their looks! But an average person takes between 5 to 30 seconds to form some sort of an opinion about a stranger.
Now, think from the perspective of a person who is a professional, paid to evaluate a person by spending as little time with them as possible. Yes, we are referring to interviewers or recruiters who judge candidates based on a piece of paper and on average 30 to 40 minutes of conversation.
The face to face interview is the deciding factor for almost 90% of private sector jobs. Interview candidates are under immense pressure to prove themselves within such a short time frame. A candidate must be able to answer the technical questions accurately as well as be skilled in business communication.
Did you know that there is a huge aspect of interviews which is just important as what you say?
It’s your body language!
It is true that most interview candidates are unaware of the importance of body language as they are only focused on dressing nicely, being on time and answering all the questions confidently. But according to global recruitment experts, a big impact is made by the candidate’s body language.
You may think this sounds silly but there are psychological reasons behind it. It is easy to say what not to do at interviews, but what to do during interviews in terms of non-verbal communication is something that you can use to your advantage. To get a better overview of this article have a look at our another article “Looking for a Job? Prepare Yourself Well for the Interview”
So, to make sure when you go to interviews with some of the biggest companies in Bangladesh, or even a small start-up, learn how to use your body language to enhance your first impressions from this interview body language guide.
Body Language at Interviews – What to Do!
1. Confident Walking
It is extremely important to walk confidently whether it is walking into the office, the waiting area, or to the interview room. Be professional with every step and be mindful that there are eyes looking at your every movement. Changes in emotions and confidence levels are expressed by body language whether or not we realize it. Recruitment experts judge the character of candidates, their seriousness, etc. from something as simple as their walk.
2. Firm Hands
When offered a handshake, make sure to deliver a firm one which is not too soft and not too tough. You don’t want to be judged as being too weak or too dominant, but just right! To avoid awkward, lengthy holds, be sure to let go and it’s alright if you are first to let go. If you are not a handshake person, be polite in responding with a non-contact respectful gesture.
3. Sit on a Bench
Don’t worry, we don’t literally mean to carry a bench with you and sit on it during your interview. No matter how comfortable or uncomfortable the chair or seating arrangement may be, sit down straight as you would in a wooden bench. Often, it helps to not lean back all the way and be a little uncomfortable – it will make you more alert & attentive. Keep your legs straight and not crossed or on top of each other. You can lean in every once in a while, to show that you are listening.
4. Steady Eyes
Maintaining good eye contact is an age-old technique to express confidence, focus and attention. So, use that to your advantage by not looking away or here & there but towards the person speaking to you. If you look away for a few seconds, do it to refresh yourself not to focus on something else in the room. There is not rule of thumb as to how long you should maintain steady eye contact, but a good number is 5 to 10 seconds.
5. Facial Expressions
Remember to put in a smile whenever the opportunity presents itself. Not only will it relax yourself, it will present you to be more personable. Don’t give fake smiles, be genuine! A genuine smile goes a long way and makes the environment positive, almost instantly!
6. Use Your Hands
This is a very uncomfortable one. Most candidates are absolutely lost as to what to do with their hands during interviews. When you are speaking, use them to articulate your words but don’t do it too much. Don’t forget that you have hands, many candidates simply hide their hands. It is important to keep your hands away from your face and with some form of movement when speaking.
Some Additional Interview DO Tips
- A good technique is to take notes during interviews, with their permission you can do this to not only actually taking notes but also to keep your hands busy.
- Keep your phone turned off or at least on silent or airplane mode
- Keep your head up and feet still; do not slouch
- Be energetic and enthusiastic but be graceful
- Address all members of the interview board, don’t just stick to one person
- Use nodding to your advantage to show that you are interested, understanding, agreeing and do it naturally. Don’t constantly nod as you will look like a woodpecker!
Body Language at Interviews – What Not to Do!
Now that you know what exactly to do during interviews, let’s look at some of the many things to train your body to not do while you are being interviewed.
Don’t confuse confidence with arrogance! Never walk into an interview thinking you are an overqualified candidate, even if you know so. Even if you are told that you are over qualified, do not get overconfident. Arrogance is not only an unattractive characteristic it is damaging to any professional or personal relationship. Remind yourself that arrogance & confidence is not the same!
2. Side Activities
During your interview, stop using your phone or scribbling with a pen or playing with your hair or face. It is an obvious DON’T, but many people do these things subconsciously, not realizing they are doing it. So, be fully aware of your bad habits and refrain from them. Do practice interviews with friends, family members or others to improve yourself.
It is very common for most people to fidget when nervous or anticipating questions. Try your best and train yourself to not fidget, tap your fingers or your legs during interviews. These are not only giveaways for recruiters about your nervousness but also distracting to the interview board. You don’t want to be still like a wooden block but also, you don’t want to be fidgeting like nervous teenager awaiting their results.
Some Additional Interview DON’T Tips
- Do not make sudden, sloppy movements
- Do not chew gum or have candy or any type of food
- Do not keep your hands in your pockets
- Do not daze out or zone out into a daydream
- Do not tap your fingers, click your pen, tap your feet, etc.
An essential part of an interview process in the modern days is the phone interview stage. It is helpful if you walk while you speak on the phone to give yourself more confidence and relax your mind and body. As you do this, it will also make your responses sharper, as your brain is working efficiently to control your right & left steps.
When leaving an interview, make sure to leave a lasting impression of yourself. Don’t hug anyone! Practice the art of departing from an interview. Be calm as you gather your things, move gracefully, smile, nod and offer a handshake to at least the hiring manager, if not the entire interview board.
It is essential that you remember, the piece of paper that has your qualifications is what you achieved, but how you behave is who you are. So, during an interview it is important to portray yourself the person and not just focus on the piece of paper that says what you did. You’re your skills, talent, experience, and confidence in using your body language.
It is true and I accept that many of these points are not NEW or a REVOLUTION, but genius is in simplicity! Your actions will speak much louder than the words in your CV, so it is crucial that these simple things are done effectively to truly express yourself during interviews. also check our CV Writing Guide: How to Write a Good CV.
More than 50% of a person’s impression is based on their body language so it is a major aspect which should not be ignored. Unlike many other things like your job experiences, educational qualifications, etc. your body language can be improved!
It is natural to be nervous at a job interview, everyone does it. But if you keep in mind some of the tips shared here, you will be better equipped to present yourself to even the biggest recruitment agencies in not just Bangladesh, but all over the world.
Find thousands of job listings at Bikroy.com/Jobs from reputed private & government organizations all over Bangladesh.
Which are some of the best body language tricks that you used? Which one will you try on your next interview? Share your thoughts with all our readers in the comments below.