We’ve all heard the saying that communication is 5% what you say and 95% how you say it. Body language is extremely important in an interview situation, so I've collected some great ways to present yourself and maximise your chances of securing a job offer.
The key point to remember is not to get so hung up on your body language that all you’re concentrating on is the way you’re sitting, standing or speaking. There are a few basic rules to follow, but don’t focus too much on the tiny details as you’ll forget about the rest of it. Remember too that as soon as you walk through the door into the office, you’re being judged. Don’t just turn on the charm to the interviewers; they might ask the receptionist what they thought of you too.
If you only remember one thing about body language, make sure its about maintaining eye contact. That doesn’t mean engaging in a staring competition with the interviewers and seeing who blinks first; it’s about appearing interested in what the interviewer is saying and engaging with them. If you’re being interviewed by a panel, make an effort to maintain eye contact with each panel member equally. If you find eye contact uncomfortable, try not to stare at the floor or your hands instead as this will make you appear nervous and lacking in confidence. One great tip for if you're struggling with maintaining eye contact is to look at their forehead instead, just above the brow.
Sit Up Straight
If you don’t sit up straight in interviews and you look as though you’re lounging or slouching, you may give the impression that you’re not serious about the interview and are too relaxed. Try not to fiddle with jewellery, your watch or buttons on your jacket if you feel nervous - instead, keep your hands folded in your lap. Leaning forward, but not excessively so, will demonstrate that you are showing interest in what is being said to you.
Practice your Handshake
Usually, the only physical contact you’ll have with the people interviewing you will be when you shake their hand at the start or end of the interview. Your handshake should be firm – not too strong with the risk of crushing their hands, but not limp and weak as this could mean you come across as unconfident and submissive. If you struggle with handshakes, ask a willing friend or relative if they can practice with you before the interview date.
Coming across as miserable or grumpy is a sure-fire way to miss out on the job. Employers want to think you’re happy to be there and interested in what they have to say. They’re not expecting to see you grinning like the Cheshire Cat throughout the interview, but a smile to accompany your handshake when you first walk in (and if interviewer tries to crack a joke) always a good move.
Was this article helpful to you? If you have any questions, additional topics or ideas for a follow-up article, please let us know in the comments below!
Where to next? Find out about all our internal graduate jobs.