Blog post

Body language

We have all heard for years about the importance of body language but as you sit through an interview process and possibly real into the moment it is still important to remember what your body language says about you.

On the flip side though, it is also worth remembering that too much emphasis on body language can look OTT and like you are “trying” to work on your body language.

So whether it is an interview or just your ongoing day at work, think about these body language fails.

  1. Eye Contact. It is easy to get this one wrong. You don’t want to glare someone down with fierce eye lock but you also don’t want to aimlessly look around you giving the idea that you would rather be anywhere but in this conversation. It is important to look at the person talking to you but the occasional look away would break the uncomfortableness created by an eye-lockdown!
  1. Watching the clock Basically checking the clock while you are talking to someone is a clear sign of disrespect.You are basically messaging them that you are already mentally somewhere else. If you have somewhere to be at a specific time tell the person before you start talking to them. If not check your time before your interview / meeting and if essential set an alarm in your pocket that can vibrate a few moments before you need to leave.
  1. Exaggerated gestures can imply that you’re stretching the truth. Aim for small, controlled gestures to indicate leadership and confidence, and open gestures—like spreading your arms apart or showing the palms of your hands—to communicate that you have nothing to hide.
  1. Crossed arms this often seems like a very obvious one. It indicates you are being guarded and standoffish. It can often be an easy to one forget and fall into the trap of sitting like, but it is not a good impression.
  1. Exaggerated nodding signals anxiety about approval. People may perceive your heavy nods as an attempt to show you agree with or understand something that you actually don’
  1. Fidgeting with or fixing your hair signals that you’re anxious, over-energised, self-conscious, and distracted. People will perceive you as overly concerned with your physical appearance and not concerned enough with your career.
  1. Facial expressions: Rolling your eyes and scowling can often be voluntary but is a fail-proof way to communicate lack of respect. Fortunately, while it may be a habit, it’s voluntary. You can control it, and it’s worth the effort. Scowling makes people feel they are being judged.Smiling on the other hand shows you to be trustworthy and friendly.
  1. Weak handshakes signal that you lack authority and confidence, but a handshake that is more like a vice grip can be perceived as an aggressive attempt at domination, which is just as bad. Adapt your handshake to the person in front of you and situation, but make sure it’s always firm.
  1. Getting too close. If you stand too close to someone (nearer than one and a half feet), it signals that you have no respect for or understanding of personal space. This will make people very uncomfortable when they’re around you.

 

It is important to bear these points in mind when you are going for an interview. as it can make all the difference to the lasting impression you leave with a prospective employer.

Take a moment, as crazy as it may feel, to stand in front of the mirror and stand up straight pull your shoulders back and smile. then slouch and frown and tut at yourself with a roll of the eyes…

This little exercise will be a good reminder of how you can make the best personal impression when going for your next interview.