How to use body language to your advantage

By Ross Coverdale

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If you’ve had job interviews in the past, you’ll likely be familiar with the importance of preparing what you need to say; how you communicate your strengths and biggest weaknesses, detailing your skills and experience and so on. This is all very important, naturally, but it’s equally important to consider one key element of the job interview process: it’s a face-to-face interaction with another human being.

While the interviewer will be paying close attention to what you say, your mannerisms and body language can do a lot to strengthen what comes out of your mouth. Alternatively, get it wrong and you could run the risk of it doing the opposite.

We’ve compiled a few tips to help you come across as personable and confident in your job interview.

Sit up straight

It’s a good idea to feel relaxed when you’re sitting in front of a hiring manager, but try not to be too relaxed! Pay attention to your posture to make sure you’re sitting up straight – this can go a long way in demonstrating professionalism and confidence.

By the same token, try not to sit there like a robot with a rod up your back, you don’t want to come off as being too stiff as this can make you look nervous too. So relax, but try not to come off as too casual or that you’re not that bothered to be there.

Maintain eye contact

The eyes are the window to the soul, someone once said. If you keep looking down at your lap you’ll be dismissed as being passive. If your eyes are darting around the room you’ll look terrified. Make sure you maintain eye contact with the person interviewing you so they feel like you’re talking to them naturally instead of fumbling trying to remember your lines.

Don’t stare wildly either, as this will probably freak your interviewer out – don’t run the risk of coming off as too aggressive.

Mirror, mirror

This tip isn’t about practicing in front of a mirror (although this is something you could consider) but more about matching your interviewer’s positive body language – this will help you feel at ease with them, and likewise will help the interviewer build rapport with you.

If your interviewer comes across as being super confident with great posture and uses their hands to articulate their messages, try to do a bit of that too – people like people they can identify with.

Just like eye contact and posture, try not to overdo it – don’t actually mirror every motion or gesture as it’ll become obvious you’re copying them and you’ll just look weird.

These three things are just a few tips, but if you master them you’ll have a solid foundation to work from. These techniques should be seen as ways to help you build trust with your interviewer, so keep that in mind – the key to body language is all about being subtle, so try not to overthink it and focus on the conversation itself.

Just try to avoid the bad habits, and relax (just not too much!)

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