It takes just a few seconds before we pass judgement on someone we meet.
We start to think thumbs up or thumbs down.
Body language is how we communicate without words. It can be a look, a smile, a gesture. It can be a fidget, a crossed arm, a slouch.
Interviewers start to make decisions about you before you say hello. So if your body is talking, you need to know what it's saying. Because in an interview, good body language is essential to your interview's success.
If you've got a job interview, a college interview, or an internship interview,here are 6 simple and successful body language tips you can use:
1. Sit up straight.Slouching is a sign that you lack confidence. Leaning back is a sign that you're defensive or don't care.
2. Lean slightly forward.When you lean slightly forward you lessen the space between you and the interviewer. It shows increased interest in the conversation.
3. Don't fidget. Fidgeting is a sign of discomfort or weakness. It's also distracting. If you twirl your hair, pull it back. If you twist or rub your hands, fold them in front of you or keep them flat in your lap. If you tap your pen, put it away. Fidgeting can be a hard habit to break, but if you work on being aware of when you do it, and stop yourself when you do, you'll find that over time you'll be able to control it more easily.
4. Maintain good eye contact. Looking someone in the eye is a sign of honesty and directness. It also shows that you're engaged in the conversation. It's okay to occasionally look away — most of us do that, especially when we're thinking. But remember to bring your eyes back to the interviewer. Don't stare, though — that can get creepy.
5. No limp fish handshakes. A strong handshake is a sign of confidence, so be firm when you shake someone's hand. Too strong a handshake can come off as aggressive (and potentially painful). So can holding on for too long. Not sure about your handshake? Find several people to practice with.
6. Smile. A genuine smile lights up your face. It shows the interviewer that you're happy to be there and that you're enjoying the experience. So when you meet your interviewer, smile. And when it's appropriate during the interview, smile (or even laugh). Definitely smile when you shake hands and leave — that's the last picture your interviewer will have of you.
For more information check out my posts on How to Begin and End College Interviews and Why You Might be Failing Your Job Interview.
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6 Simple and Effective Body Language Interview Techniques
Sharon Epstein teaches students and adults around the world how to master interview skills for school and job. She specializes in working with students at all levels: college, graduate school, medical school, prep school; and preparing for scholarship interviews and internships, as well as teaching interview skills to young adults entering the workplace and back-to-school moms.