The Job Interview:
12 Landing Tips
by Candace Corner
Your heart feels ready to leap out of your chest. Beads of sweat build on your forehead. Your mind is racing. It’s not a full-blown interrogation — although it may feel like it. It’s just a job interview. While it’s no secret that job interviews can be nerve-racking, a lot of job candidates spend a significant amount of time worrying about what they will say during their interview, only to blow it all with their body language. The old adage, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” still holds meaning, even if you’re not talking. You need to effectively communicate your professionalism both verbally and non-verbally, because delivering concise answers and expressing your enthusiasm at once can be difficult when you’re nervous, here’s a guide to walk you through it:
Have Them At “Hello”
Before you walk into the interview, it’s assumed that you will have done the following: prepared yourself by reading up on the company and recent company news; practiced what you’ll say to some of the more common interview questions; and followed the “what to wear on your interview” advice. So you’re ready, right?
Some hiring managers claim they can spot a possible candidate for a job within 30 seconds or less, and while a lot of that has to do with the way you look, it’s also in your body language. Don’t walk in pulling up your pantyhose or readjusting your tie; pull yourself together before you stand up to greet the hiring manager or enter their office. Avoid a “dead fish” handshake and confidently — but not too firmly — grasp your interviewer’s hand and make eye contact while saying hello.
If you are rocking back in your chair, shaking your foot, drumming your fingers or scratching your… anything, you’re going to look like the type of future employee who wouldn’t be able to stay focused, if even for a few minutes. It’s a not a game of charades, it’s a job interview. Here’s what to do (and not do):
- Rub the back of your head or neck. Even if you really do just have a cramp in your neck, these gestures make you look disinterested.
- Sit with your arms folded across your chest. You’ll appear unfriendly and disengaged.
- Cross your legs and idly shake one over the other. It’s distracting and shows how uncomfortable you are.
- Lean your body towards the door. You’ll appear ready to make a mad dash for the door.
- Slouch back in your seat. This will make you appear disinterested and unprepared.
- Stare back blankly. This is a look people naturally adapt when they are trying to distance themselves.
- Sit up straight, and lean slightly forward in your chair. In addition to projecting interest and engagement in the interaction, aligning your body’s position to that of the interviewer’s shows admiration and agreement.
- Show your enthusiasm by keeping an interested expression. Nod and make positive gestures in moderation to avoid looking like a bobble-head.