It is believed that body language is the true key to effective communication. What we “say” to one another is 93% non-verbal while only 7% is through words. This is why it’s important you’re not only aware of the words you use, but how you communicate them through your body and gestures.
So, in order for you to not repeat the same mistakes I have, I’ve compiled a list of 5 main body language faux pas.
1) Weak handshake
Ever head business men say “you know a person through their handshake?”
This is true and applies to your interview too. A handshake is a non-verbal way of communication that demonstrates confidence, or lack of, and means a great deal for first impressions.
Reach out at a 90 degree angle and meet your interviewer mutually. Be firm, but don’t squeeze their hand as that suggests you are trying to dominate them. Give two brief shakes, using the same amount of force as they do.
Make sure you sit up straight. Lean forward to display interest but always keep a good posture. This shows that you are engaged with the conversation, while slouching can be interpreted as disinterest and also laziness.
3) Eye contact
I cannot express how central eye contact is to building rapport. Lack of eye contact can suggest lack of confidence or, worse still, ignorance. Maintain eye contact casually, but often, like you would a friend. If there’re two interviewers try address them both equally. No one likes feeling left out, so even if the other person is a note taker, it’s best to be inclusive and get both on side.
We all do it, it’s the body’s way of dispelling nervous tension. However, it can make the interviewer feel just as anxious as you are. Plus, it can be very annoying. That’s why it’s best to take in a note pad and pen, and accept a drink when you arrive. If you feel the need to fidget you can always write notes, or take a sip of tea or coffee until the moment has passed.
5) Being in a hurry to leave
When an interview has finished it’s hard to not make a race for the door. Be calm and let the interviewer guide you out at his or her own pace. They must show you to the door, they must hand you your coat, and they must offer the final handshake before you leave. Lead in any of these aspects and you’re unconsciously saying that you want to get out of there.
A little tip:
Mirroring: When you are sat opposite your interviewer take a moment to observe how they are sitting. If they have their legs crossed, subtly do the same. If they are reaching for a drink, wait a second then do the same. This is called mirroring, and this is what people do when they have a strong rapport with each other. If you find they unconsciously start to follow you, then you know you have built a good non-verbal connection!