Interviewing is all about communication. You need to know how to answer the most common questions, talk about your previous experience, and discover more about the job. But communication isn’t all verbal, and your body language says a lot about you. Specifically, there are a few non-verbal cues that can leave a bad impression. To give yourself the best shot at landing the job, here are the most problematic non-verbal cues to avoid.
A Bad Handshake
Sweaty palms, a limp handshake, or just gripping with the tip of the fingers can all be seen as red flags. When you do shake hands, do it confidently. There is good news if shaking hands does make you uncomfortable. Many people are avoiding the handshake all together right now.
No Eye Contact
It’s normal and natural for conversations to include a level of comfortable eye contact. Not looking your interviewer in the eyes at all is considered a red flag. Practice this with someone in your home to ensure that your eye contact is natural.
Too Much Eye Contact
On the flip side, too much eye contact can also be unnerving. While eye contact can be understandably difficult for some people, practicing how to do it naturally can help you make a good impression in any conversation.
A Lot of Fidgeting
When we’re nervous, fidgeting can happen unconsciously. You might play with the hem of your jacket or shift in your seat often. But fidgeting can be a negative sign because the interviewer may perceive you as distracted.
Your interviewer will also be gauging your interest in the job by how you engage in the conversation. If you seem bored by the topic of discussion, they may think you’re not paying attention, which will carry over into the job itself.
Excessive Hand Gestures
Talking with our hands comes naturally to many of us. But over the top hand gestures while talking can distract the person on the other side of the desk. You don’t have to eliminate it, but pay attention to your hands while you talk.
Many of us are conditioned to take up as little space as possible. We close ourselves in and try to look as small as possible. That’s especially true when we’re uncomfortable. Making your body smaller can be interpreted as a sign of timidness which may not go over well at an interview.
Taking Up Too Much Space
The opposite end of that spectrum is taking up too much space. When you extend your arm over the back of a chair or encroach on someone else’s space without thinking about their comfort, you may be perceived as too aggressive and dominating.
Whatever you do, don’t take your phone into an interview. Or, if you must, leave it turned off in your purse or pocket and don’t look at it at any point in the discussion. This will immediately turn the interviewer off, and they won’t consider you for the job.
Not Mirroring Your Interviewer
One positive trick for good body language is to mirror the other person. When they lean forward, you lean forward. Monitor their body language as they talk to you, then subtly adopt their posture when it changes.
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