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Friday, April 3, 2009

Strategy To Set Your Body Language Before Interviews

Interviews make us nervous so taking time to prepare for an interview will go some way to easing those nerves.

  • Make sure that you are wearing the right clothes and that you are well groomed, and don’t forget those shoes – they need to be clean and well heeled.
  • Get the right inner voice
  1. I can handle this
  2. I am confident
  3. I have prepared well for this interview
  4. I know my strengths and weaknesses and I will give it my best shot.
  1. I hate interviews
  2. I’m sure I’m going to fail
  3. There are going to be far more qualified/experienced people than me
  4. I know I won’t be able to answer any of their questions
  5. I know I won’t get the job
If you hear any of these destructive voices in your head then SILENCE them and convert them to a positive inner dialogue.
  • Tell yourself that you are confident, put your shoulders back, open your chest, hold your head up, smile. Shake hands if the interviewer offers his/her hand and remember that your handshake should be dry and firm, taking the whole hand. Give good eye contact.
  • Sit when invited to do so. If you are being interviewed by a panel you may have your chair positioned some distance away from the interviewers. This can be very daunting but maintain that positive inner voice. The panel can see all your body language gestures so ensure you keep your body language open, legs uncrossed, arms and hands resting lightly in front of you on your lap or on the arms of the chair. Keep your body language movements to a minimum but you can angle your body to the speaker/questioner.
  • Sit upright, look and be alert. Sit forward to convey real interest. Keep your eyes on the speaker, moving eye contact to the person who is asking you questions if there is more than one interviewer and then, when you have answered, sweeping your eye contact to the rest of the panel. Remember to smile if you can.
  1. slouch;
  2. look down at your hands,
  3. out of the window,
  4. at the ceiling
  5. fold your arms tightly across your body.
  • In interviews don’t threaten the interviewer’s personal space by invading it. I saw this happen once when an interviewee lunged across a dividing table at the interviewer who sprang back and completely forgot what she was going to ask. Needless to say the applicant didn’t get the job.
We often place a barrier in front of us to mark our personal space. Behind this barrier we feel comfortable and safe. We can also feel superior. Interviewers and bosses do this, which is not always a good interviewing tactic or one for team building, as you cannot get to know the other person with a barrier between you. Doctors used to do this but many no longer do so. However some medical consultants still use this as a way of clearly defining the patient– doctor relationship. Do not put anything on the interviewer’s desk or table without asking permission first and that also goes for the sales interview. The desk or table is their territory and you are invading it if you don’t ask their permission.