Professor Albert Mehrabian’s (UCLA) highly regarded research on communication states that only 7% of communication is verbal (what you say) and 93% is non-verbal. The non-verbal 93% is made up of 55% body language and 38% tone of voice. Therefore in an interview situation, over 50% of how you communicate with your potential employer is based on your body language!
Many job seekers spend hours practicing and rehearsing what they are going to say in an interview and ignore how they non-verbally communicate. Here are some of my body language tips for interview situations:
Sit Up Straight
Make sure you sit back in your seat and have good posture during the interview, this not only displays confidence but can also help to open up your lungs and relax your breathing to calm those interview nerves.
Keep Good Eye Contact
Good eye contact displays confidence and that you are engaging with the interviewer. Don’t go too far though, there’s no need to stare down your opponent! Also make sure you don’t look around the room/out the window when thinking of answers to interview questions.
Avoid Excessive Hand Gestures
Excessive hand gestures can be very distracting and will take attention away from what you are saying. If you tend to naturally ‘talk with your hands’, do your best to keep them by your side/on your lap.
Pointing at another person is a very aggressive gesture and should be avoided, it really has no place in an interview situation.
Relax Your Arms and Shoulders
Always sit with your arms and shoulders as relaxed as possible and never cross your arms. Crossing your arms across your body gives the impression you are guarded and defensive.
Don’t Read From Your CV
You should never read from your CV in an interview, it immediately causes you to lose eye contact with the interviewer.
Fidgeting with your hair/nails/glasses etc. can distract your interviewer and often irritate them. As with the advice for hand gestures above, keep your hands by your side to avoid fidgeting.
Many of the aspects of body language I’ve mentioned above are habits which people form over years, it can take a lot of practice to break those habits. So make sure you practice good body language for your interview, as well as what you are going to say when you answer interview questions.