4.1 Job interviews
The job interview is a key situation where you want to present yourself as positively as possible. Watch this video, where recruitment specialist Rebecca Fielding shares her thoughts on effective ways of using non-verbal communicating during a job interview.
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So the kind of body language that I am looking for, typically, in interview is somebody who's got their- I would say- open body language. They've got their arms open. Their shoulders back. Not necessarily legs open, but they're feeling confident, and comfortable, and relaxed. Rather than tense, or hunched, or crossed over, or nervous.
So the reason why I'm looking for that more open body language is it says to me, somebody's being themselves. That they're not too nervous. That they're being confident and comfortable. And showing me the best version of themselves.
Now, interestingly, if somebody doesn't look like that at the beginning of the interview- I consider it my job, as the recruiter, to try and help them relax and become more relaxed. So try not to worry too much about that because becoming self-conscious can actually make you much more tense and much more uncomfortable.
The other key thing, though, to look for and certainly, to work on- practise really helps- is eye contact. And that's if there is one person, just making good eye contact as you're talking to them. And if there are multiple people in a room, making eye contact with several different people as you talk is really important.
And certainly, as a panel member, I've been very conscious and cognizant in the past if a candidate chooses just to talk to one person. Because what that's telling me- subconsciously- is they believe that person's the most important one. Which is very interesting if I'm the only female on a panel. Or they choose to only talk to a male or only talk to somebody they consider to be the most senior. It tells us a lot about who they think is important. And who they think they should be talking to.
So be aware of your eye contact. And I would say, your share of eye contact, as well. So who you talk to.
Practising- if you don't have a lot of practise with that, practising really helps. And I know that for some people, eye contact is a very difficult thing. So if you've got a genuine challenge or barrier in that, I'd really encourage you to let the employer know that so that they don't consider that to be any sign of disengagement or concern about the role. But rather, it's a barrier that you find very difficult to cope with in an interview environment. So eye contact's the second thing.
The third thing that I look for is exactly what I'm doing in this interview, which is called signposting with your hands. So bringing something to life with your hands. And the reason for that is that often demonstrates your ability to be able to bring something to life to other people and a genuine excitement. If you're excited about something, try it.
After this, try talking about something you really love- be it music, or some food, or your local bar that you love. Talk about it and you'll find you can't resist. Your hands pop. You talk with expression with your hands. And so I always look for that level of expressionism in people's signposting, or hand talking.
That, for me, demonstrates whether or not somebody's being genuine about their responses. About whether or not they really want the job. Or they're really interested. Or really excited. So those are the key things.
The last and most, perhaps, important thing is whether or not somebody smiles. I know it's sometimes really hard before an interview or during an interview if you feel very nervous, to smile. But smiling is a wonderful thing to do. A, physiologically, it just relaxes you. But B, it helps you connect with people much more genuinely.
So if you can smile and it feels natural to do so, I think it's a wonderful thing to do. If you find it very difficult and it's very forced, it probably won't help. But smiling is something that I really look for.
And of course, shaking hands would be the final thing. So make sure that you do- again, if there's multiple people in a room- shake hands with everybody. It's always nice to introduce yourself and take people's names when you're shaking their hands.
And shaking hands confidently. Again, if that's not something that you've done a lot of in your life, then practise. Practise with family, with friends. The more you do it, the less uncomfortable it becomes. Shaking hands is a great way to make a connection with somebody from a body language perspective, at both the beginning and the end of an interview, as well.
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Creating a good impression at interviews – a checklist
- Turn off your mobile phone.
- Start introductions with a firm handshake.
- No matter how you feel on the inside, demonstrate confidence by maintaining good posture, i.e. standing tall and sitting up straight.
- Be positive, even if it is a difficult interview.
- Maintain good levels of eye contact with all interviewers.