How to read body language in an interview

How to read body language in an interview

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. That’s an old cliche, but a valuable truth. Impressions of you are formed in the mind of the interviewer the minute you walk through the door and before you’ve even had a chance to say hello. Since there’s nothing you can do about some of those impressions, like your height, race, or gender, you need to make the most of the things that you can do something about. Two things that you can control are your appearance and your body language.

Research places these ten interviewing mistakes in the top body language gaffes that will sink a prospective job faster than the Titanic:

Body odor. For most of us, it’s hard to imagine that someone would go to a job interview without exercising proper hygiene, but it happens. Smelling bad during your job interview is the most certain way of ensuring that you won’t be punching this company’s timeclock.

Flirtatious attitude. If this kind of behavior nets you the job, you probably don’t want it. Don’t wear mini-skirts, plunging necklines, or other seductive clothing.

Refusing to answer a question. Prospective employers usually have legitimate reasons for asking the questions that they do. Not answering one or more of them probably will make the interviewer assume the worst answer you could give and maybe wonder what you’re hiding.

The handshake. A limp handshake gives the impression of weakness, timidity, and lack of enthusiasm, not qualities you want a prospective employer to associate with you. Shake hands firmly, but don’t try to break any bones.

Tardiness. No matter what it takes, be on time for that job interview. Few things will turn off an employer like being late. If you can’t make it on time for the interview, what are the chances that you’ll be on time for work every day?

The Minnie Pearl look. Arrive at the interview site in plenty of time to allow yourself a visit to the restroom prior to meeting your potential boss. Make sure that you’ve cut all the tags off the new suit you bought for the occasion, that you’re not wearing breakfast or lunch on your clothes, and that all buttons and zippers that should be closed are indeed firmly closed.

Space invaders. Most people like to maintain personal space around themselves. Don’t violate the interviewer’s personal space by trying to get too close.

Yawning. Maybe your interviewer is a talker and enjoys telling people about his company, right down to the nitty-gritty, boring details. Stay alert and look interested. An escaping yawn will make you look as though you couldn’t care less about the company or its success. Don’t school your face into a blank expression in an attempt to cover your nervousness. Show some emotion; try to relax and think positively. Show some enthusiasm for the position for which you’re applying.

Just call me Grace. We can’t all be prima ballerinas, but if you trip or fall, recover your composure as quickly as possible and apologize.

Rudeness. Use basic etiquette common sense. Sit down only after the interviewer invites you to, let others precede you into the room, be pleasant and polite to everyone. You never know which employees have the interviewer’s ear. Learn to recognize when it’s your turn to talk and observe the interviewer’s body language for signs that he’s ready to listen. These can include direct eye contact, terminating gestures, and an exhalation followed by a pause.

Some final words on attire:

Do dress conservatively in whatever style is appropriate for the job for which you’re interviewing.

Do wear clothes that look like you’re successful.

Don’t wear mini-skirts, revealing necklines, or gaudy color combinations.

Do hide tattoos under clothing.

Do remove rings and other hardware residing in body piercings other than your ears.

Do control your hair. Ladies, wear long hair up. Men, a ponytail is preferable to long, uncontrolled hair.

Do wear clean, unwrinkled clothes. Look professional.

Don’t wear sandals or old sneakers. Your shoes must match your outfit.

Above all, you want to portray confidence. Maintain steady eye contact. Although research has proven that it’s no longer thought of as true that reduced eye contact indicates lying, public perception is that failure to look somebody in the eye and hold their gaze shows dishonest intent. Maintain good posture. Sitting up straight will make you look alert and capable. Slouching is regarded as lazy and disrespectful. Fidgeting with your feet or hands makes you look nervous, so keep your feet flat on the floor and your hands quietly in your lap or resting on the chair arms.

Use your voice effectively. Avoid slang, and enunciate in a strong, clear voice. Try to control the speed of your speech so that your words don’t come out tripping over each other.

Warm people who express themselves well are as attractive to employers as individuals who society regards as beautiful or handsome. Research shows evidence that attractive people get better jobs. For those of us who Mother Nature slighted in the looks department, it’s good news that employers find us just as employable as our more comely counterparts if we can present ourselves well.

Warm people who express

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