Body language is important during an interview. There have been many books written on this subject and they all have valid points – we communicate non-verbally through our posture, physical movements and facial expressions. This is particularly important during an interview because certain body movements can be interpreted negatively and confuse the interviewer.
A firm handshake portrays confidence. A wimpy handshake usually leaves the interviewer with the impression of someone who lacks confidence, and perhaps not a good leader. Make sure your hands are clean, dry, presentable – nails in good shape and hands not rough to the touch.
Crossed-arms – crossed-signals
Most people today know that when someone crosses their arms they stopped listening, perhaps they don’t agree with what is being said or could be defensive or aggressive about the subject. This is not a gesture you want to use during an interview. Fold hands in your lap or on the table.
Stare the man down
Eye contact is important during the interview. Know the difference between maintaining healthy intervals of eye contact and just plain staring someone down. Try to be natural. Staring can be uncomfortable for the interviewer and perhaps relay a message that you are bored.
Nods should be subtle, used in moderation and only when appropriate. A nod should imply that you are paying attention and acknowledge what the interviewer is saying. Too much nodding will make you appear like a bobble head.
Many people touch their face without realizing it during a conversation. With today’s heightened awareness of germs, keep your hands away from your nose and mouth so you don’t distract the interviewer by what you have touched on your face. The interpretation of touching your face is often construed as a sign of dishonesty.
These are the most common body language mistakes people make during interviews. One recommendation is to sit in front of a big mirror so you can see most of your body and answer interview questions so you can see how your body is reacting. Another recommendation is to engage a career coach who can work with you in a mock interview and help point out telltale body language blunders. Even if your coach is out of the area, skyping can be beneficial. Some business interviews are conducted by skype so it would be great practice to skype with your coach.