Body Language and First Impressions
Your body language can communicate more about you than your actual spoken words in making a first and lasting impression during an interview. The belief is that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of your voice, and only 7% is the actual words spoken.
This became very apparent to me while working with a student during a mock interview session. I noticed him squirming and fidgeting in his seat, leaning back in his chair and touching the back of his head when challenged by a question, and continuously breaking eye contact when he spoke.
I asked if he felt nervous in interviews and he said yes. I asked if he felt nervous right now and he said that he felt pretty calm. I shared my observation that his body language and his non-verbal actions led me to believe he was anxious and uncomfortable which was distracting. I wondered about his actions during an actual interview.
Follow the 10 tips below to ensure your body language demonstrates confidence and professionalism.
- Use a firm handshake.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Avoid fidgeting, squirming, or rocking in your seat.
- Sit up straight and tall in your chair.
- Keep your hands in your lap.
- Nod occasionally to avoid continuously bobbing your head in agreement.
- Avoid unnecessary touching of face and hair or fidgeting with objects.
- Maintain control of your hands, arms, and feet while talking.
- Avoid crossing your arms and feet which may convey being closed off.
- Smile! It is OK to show your emotion, passion, and interest for the job.
Interviewing is a skill and the more you do it, the better you will get. For more tips, check out the Interviewing section on the iSchool Career Development pages.