I’m always interested in body language and how it both benefits and hinders one’s chance of succeeding at an interview. Experience of almost 25 years with Riverside Childcare and previously outside the world of professional childcare hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm. The impression you make in those first few minutes – actually first four minutes, can profoundly effects how the interviewer perceives you. What that impression gives is an insight to your attitude and general demeanor. Your CV tells the technical stuff – knowledge and skills. Your body language is a window into your attitude. The interviewer is unlikely to be a student of body language but they will innately get a vibe about you – positive or negative, and that will inform the whole interview and their ultimate decision.
Some tips are well known, treat this as a refresher for segment one of the interview and then consider the interesting add-on researchers discovered from Harvard Business school.
Simple effective tips to steer you through the first few minutes:
- Prepare yourself in advance
- Arrive with 10 minutes to spare
- Carry with you another copy of your CV in slightly larger font in case you need to refer to it, think of this copy as a personal prompt
- Know the name of your interviewer, the title of the job, the location and start date
- Entering the room you should give the interviewer the sense that you are looking forward to the interview
- A smile and firm handshake sets the tone
- Sit upright rather than slouched in the chair.
- Think about keeping your arms unfolded as this looks defensive and gives the sense that you are ill at ease.
- Nod if you agree with something the interviewer says, this gives the sense that you are engaged and open to questions and to sharing information.
- Speak honestly but do not descend into negative comments about current or former employers
Four minutes will have whooshed past by now as you enter the middle segment of the interview – when, some say, you can sense how things are really going and whether the interviewer understands and is interested in you or that the job prospect is slipping away. Well it appears all is not lost and the connection between body posture and altering a situation can kick in (obviously if you don’t have the right skill set for the job this won’t apply with the best will in the world …but lets presume you do). According to a detailed study by Harvard Business School:
By simply changing physical posture, an individual prepares his or her mental and physiological systems to endure difficult and stressful situations, and perhaps to actually improve confidence and performance in situations such as interviewing for jobs
They also noted that nodding and smiling was not just empowering for the recipient of those action but actually empowered the actor of the action both physiologically and psychologically.
So what’s the take-away on this? Don’t give up or become submissive until the interview is entirely over … yep that means after you’ve left the building. Continue in a positive mode throughout and finish with a flourish.
If you are interested in small group or one to one interview technique coaching drop us a line. We offer this service throughout the year in person in the UK and via skype internationally.