Body language can communicate so much about us without even being consciously aware of it. Our ability to pick up and interpret even the smallest gestures is what makes nonverbal communication so amazing. This ability becomes a science during the interview process as the interviewer is constantly watching for nonverbal cues and body language to gauge how well a person would be able to do their job.
Being aware of what your body is saying, is key to having a positive interview and the first step to correcting negative body language, overall.
Here are some ways to correct negative body language habits that can hurt you in an interview:
Wringing your hands, picking at your nails or even tapping your foot can all be seen as ways of fidgeting. In an interview, an interviewer interprets these mannerisms as nervous energy and blocks your ability to connect on an interpersonal level. Pay attention to your habits in the waiting room, as this is most likely the place that your nervous energy will begin to surface. Practice focusing on your breathing, placing your hands in your lap and even crossing your legs to avoid displaying your nervous energy in obvious outlets.
- Playing with Your Hair
You can put your hair behind your ear, but don’t do it each time you begin to start a sentence. Like fidgeting, playing with your hair is a way of fidgeting and can be a turn-off for interviewers. Playing with your hair also leaves an oily sensation on your hands and can increase sweat production on your hands. No one wants to shake the hand of someone with oily and sweaty palms at the end of the interview.
- Crossing Your Arms
This is a natural defensive pose and can be confrontational to an interviewer. This could make you appear upset or put-off by their questioning, even if you are on board and excited about the questions. Try sitting up straight and crossing your legs while placing your hands in your lap. Remember, crossing your arms can also come across as untrustworthy and uncomfortable.
- Forgetting to Smile
Smiling is important at the right times and especially during the greeting and ending of an interview and can create a mirrored effect where the interviewer smiles back. A lack of smiling is concerning to an interviewer because they are unsure what to mirror back. Smiling shows your interviewer that you are confident, open and warm.
- Wrong Eye Contact
Staring for too long or not enough eye contact can also be detrimental to an interview process. Staring can make the interviewer uncomfortable while not enough eye contact makes them wonder if you are even listening. Try catching their glance and holding it before looking around the room slightly. A long glance and look away to emphasize a point makes the eye contact natural and unforced.