If this research proves true—and when it comes to interviews, these numbers don’t lie—it’s probably a good idea to spend time not only reviewing common interview questions but also brushing up on your non-verbal interview skills. The following brief video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, will prepare you well for your next interview.
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1. Care what you wear.
You only have about seven seconds to make a first impression when you meet someone; think strategically about how you present yourself from head to toe. How will you fix your hair? Have you bathed (and smell clean) but aren’t wearing strong scents (perfume and cologne)? Are you wearing obnoxiously bright colors or flashy jewelry? Did you choose a neutral-colored suit? If you’re a female, avoid open-toed shoes. If you’re a male, be sure to shine/polish your shoes and match your socks to either your shoes or slacks.
Consider every element of your attire and appearance. This lets recruiters know that you value details.
2. Control your facial expressions.
Facial expressions play a big role in how others perceive our non-verbal skills or body language. Smile—avoid a deadpan facial expression during your interviews. It’s also critical to respond rather than react emotionally to interview questions. This doesn’t mean you want to keep a strict poker face when prodded to respond to questions about the worst boss you’ve ever had, but at the same time, you don’t want to snarl and roll your eyes, either. In general, keep your emotions in check at all times during interviews. A great way to do this is by maintaining a positive, pleasant facial expression and by pausing briefly before responding to difficult questions.
3. Maintain good posture.
Be mindful of your posture during your interview. Sit up straight unless you are physically unable to do so. This presents you as looking alert, interested, and full of energy; these are all desirable qualities in an employee. Avoid slumping or leaning on armrests of chairs. Adjust your seated position if you must. Try not to sit on the edge of your seat the entire time, though. Leaning back against the chair makes you appear more comfortable and relaxed, even if you’re totally nervous. Never let them see you sweat, right?
4. Shake hands firmly.
That old adage about having a firm handshake is absolutely still valid. This one applies to everyone. Don’t go overboard, though. Shaking hands isn’t a “feats of strength” contest. You also want to avoid shaking hands and holding on to your interviewer’s hand for a long time. That’s just plain creepy. A simple, brief, firm handshake is pretty easy to master and is a key non-verbal skill. You might need to practice, though, long before your first interview.
5. Avoid distracting mannerisms.
Mannerisms include nodding your head (avoid bobblehead syndrome), excessive hand movements, rapid eye movements or blinking, touching your face unnecessarily, playing with your hair, picking at your nails or cuticles, and other tiny habits you may have acquired over the years but don’t pay much attention to until you’re in the spotlight. In the interview setting, every distracting mannerism is noticed. You don’t need to sit completely still, but you do need to avoid fidgeting.
This is one reason you should think carefully about your choice of hairstyle, accessories, and outfit. You want to be completely confident and comfortable. If you’re not, you’re going to be fidgeting with your clothing, hair, and jewelry; what’s better is to be focusing on the words you’re saying and the words your future employer is saying. You want your future employer to remember your savvy questions about the job opening, not the way you twirled your hair incessantly.
6. Make consistent eye contact.
Be sure to make consistent eye contact with your interviewer(s). You don’t want to stare down your future employer, but you do want to have a natural conversation during the interview. When you have a conversation, you make a moderate amount of eye contact. This is important in all interviews, even in group or team interviews. If one person asks a question, you must make eye contact with all team or group members when you respond, not just with the person who asked the question.
Ultimately, attempt to strike a balance when it comes to non-verbal skills and body language during interviews. You really can’t go wrong with this approach.
Need more interview tips to prepare you for your job search?
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