Congratulations! You've made the shortlist with your nearly-flawless resume, an impressive cover letter, and - in some instances - a few inside connections to land that coveted interview. However, in 5 minutes or less, easily 50% of interviewers can determine if you are the ideal candidate for the job. In many cases, body language slip-ups can deliver the wrong message in the interviewer's mind. Even the most talented candidates can lose out if they commit any of these mistakes!
BLUNDER #1 - Bad posture. Leaning back is interpreted as lazy or arrogant, leaning too far forward is viewed as aggressive, and slouching is just lazy. Instead, aim for a neutral position where you sit tall as if a string was connecting your head to the ceiling. Sitting up straight and squaring your shoulders makes you appear confident.
BLUNDER #2 - Breaking eye contact. People can feel uncomfortable maintaining eye contact, when a personal connection with you has not yet been established. Don't stare. Instead, try to hold the interviewer's gaze for one extra second before breaking away. Do this especially when shaking hands.
BLUNDER #3 - Crossing your arms. Arms crossed over your chest convey defensiveness and resistance. Instead, aim to uncross your arms, and position them relaxed at your sides. You will appear more approachable.
BLUNDER #4 - Fidgeting. Stop this NOW! This nervous energy is guaranteed to distract the interviewer. You want them focused on what you have to say - not the coins jingling in your pocket or the hangnail on your finger. You can ask a friend to conduct a mock interview with you. Better yet, reach out to this Certified Employment Interview Professional, who will give you honest feedback about any nervous gestures you may unconsciously be making.
Don't Encourage Suspicion
BLUNDER #5 - Displaying mismatched expressions. If your speaking tone doesn't match your facial expression, you won't be taken seriously. If the interviewer asks you what you're most passionate about and your face is deadpan when you answer, you won't be believable.
BLUNDER #6 - Shifting your eye movements. Distracted or upward eye movements can suggest that you are lying or not sure of yourself. It's important to look at the interviewer directly in the eye, so that you express confidence and certainty.
BLUNDER #7 - Shaking hands too strongly. A firm handshake makes a solid first impression, but don't overdo it! When shaking hands with your interviewer for the first time, you want your grip to be firm - but don't crush their hand.
BLUNDER #8 - Shaking hands too weakly. A limp-fish handshake is even worse than a too-strong one. This unwillingness to give a firm handshake is interpreted as a lack of confidence - traits that the interviewer would rather see in a promising new employee.
BLUNDER #9 - Not smiling. Blank-faced candidates fail in interviews. Who wants to work with someone who looks grumpy all the time? Instead, keep in mind that when you smile, you seem warm and friendly. As a bonus, smiling can even calm down your interview jitters.
Avoid making the above-mentioned interview mistakes, and you are sure to avert body-language interview disaster. To learn how to ace the interview... read more...