Often times when preparing for an interview, we get so caught up in finding the right words to say that we forget about what we don’t say actually can make a difference as well. Your body can speak volumes about you without you even saying a word. It is one of those things that can be overlooked, but it is just as important when trying to make a good impression.
Some of the given gestures include good eye contact, smiling, and good posture but many people don’t know why. Having good eye contact….natural eye contact, can convey that you are self confident and sure about what it is that you are saying, smiling gives the impression that you are a happy, vibrant person, and good posture just shows that you’re interested, alert, and paying attention. Careful not to sit too erect though or the confidence that you made sure to display will be diminished and you may be seen as nervous.
It’s all about balance. Your words and gestures need to be on one accord. Facial expressions should match your tone of voice; pleasant expressions should accompany pleasant words. Here is an illustration of how it all comes together: It’s hard to appear as the best candidate for an early AM, customer facing position if your eyes have grocery bags beneath them or are blood shot red. The first thing to come to mind would be, “This is not a morning person, and therefore not the one for the job”. The remedy for this would be to get a good night’s rest beforehand and maybe invest in some Clear Eyes to get the red out. You still may not be a morning person, but at least you would look the part.
Another important point to remember is to appear engaged and receptive. This can be achieved by subtle acknowledgements during the conversation, such as a nod, or an “I see”, and by keeping your body open….cross nothing! This is especially important for men. Crossing your arms or legs gives the impression that you’re guarding something and are not receptive to what’s being said. The same goes for women, but if it must be done, crossing your legs at the ankle is the only acceptable form.
Thirdly, be mindful of not just what you’re saying, but how you say it. Don’t speak too fast or too slow, too loud or too soft. Watch the inflection at the end of your sentences. Lifting your voice at the end of a statement makes it sounds like a question or even worse, like you are unsure about what you’ve just said. Lowering your voice too low can make it difficult to hear. Practice eliminating excess words such as, “like”, “you know”, “um”, “stuff” and “whatever”. Using these words in excess can cause you to be seen as immature rather than professional in the eyes of an employer.
Keeping these things in mind will help you in your pursuit of employment. These tips may not get the job for you, but at least they won’t be the reason why you didn’t.
Christien C. Amour
Data and Reporting Specialist