What I Wish Everyone Knew About Body Language

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Before leaving for an interview, you probably double check for your resume, references and other important documents. But have you stopped for a moment and considered the true importance of these documents? Your impressive resume and cover letter have landed you the interview. The process of attaining the position you’re interviewing for, however, is entirely in your hands. There are no external documents that can help solidify your position with your interviewer. This is where your body language comes into play.

The prominent psychologist Albert Mehrabian conducted a study that stated approximately 55% of our communication is carried out through body language.

Here is why your body language is the most important thing to pay attention to:

  1. It is the first thing an interviewer notices.

The way you command a room can make a lot of difference to your job prospects. It is safe to assume that the interviewer evaluating and questioning you has considerable experience in what they do. They train themselves to note the subtle nonverbal cues that an applicant gives out. If you are nervous or anxious, it is quite likely that they know this within the first few minutes of conversation. If you are overconfident, it is extremely likely that they have noticed that too. These initial judgements play a big role in considering you for the job.

2. Your body language can help you express yourself effectively

You can use your body language to emphasise your opinions. Expressing opinions and sharing your personal insights confidently is a skill valued by any good employer. Doing so in an appropriate manner points to your leadership skills and ability to coherently put forth your points. In some cases, although your insight may not be entirely correct, there is a high chance that the way you express it is what impresses the interviewer. Modulating your voice and using appropriate hand gestures are two such tools to help you come across as collected and confident.

3. Your interest in the job is indicated

It is a very common perception that one’s body language tells the truth. No matter how we feel about a certain situation, the way our body reacts to it, consciously or unconsciously reveals the actuality. You could be applying for your dream job, something you have worked very hard for, and are extremely qualified to do. But if you enter the interview with slouched shoulders or an anxious attitude,refuse to make eye contact and be open with the interviewer, they instantly assume that you do not seem very enthusiastic about the position. They work through the rest of the interview and perceive you through this filter, which does not bode well for your prospects at getting the job. By paying attention to the way you present yourself physically, such a situation can be avoided.

Here are a few ways you can ensure you are displaying the best possible body language:

  1. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. If holding eye contact is difficult, try to focus on their eyebrows or the space between their eyes. It gives the impression that you are holding steady eye contact.

  2. Keep your back straight. Avoid slouching and fidgeting, because it conveys your nervousness to the interviewer.

  3. Be engaged in the conversation. Your interest will automatically reflect in your replies, which will sound confident.

  4. Act confident, even if you do not feel that way mentally. Soon, you will actually begin to feel that way and continue your interview with ease.

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