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ow you present yourself and your non verbal
communication style is often referred to as your body
language. Many say that this has a far greater influence
on showcasing who you really are in an interview. Therefore, it
naturally follows that a prospective employer’s opinion of you is
going to be largely formed by the body language you display. It is
therefore not what you say that is as important as how you say it!
Before your interview commences ensure that you give
yourself enough time to assess and if need be, correct your
emotional state. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes beforehand so
you can prepare yourself emotionally. Remember it is normal to
feel nervous before an interview so spend this time not only
recognising how you feel but also remind yourself that you do
deserve to be there because you wouldn’t have been invited to
interview if you weren’t being seriously considered as a
candidate. And remember that an interview is not a life-or-death
situation so be sure to keep things in perspective.
If you are feeling anxious take a few moments to focus on
your breathing. Breathing is something we can control and
regulate and by doing this, you can redirect any troubling
emotion you’re experiencing and focus on achieving a relaxed
and clear state of mind. Once you feel ready make your way to
the meeting place, remember to “stand tall” and introduce
yourself to the reception or front of house confidently, making
eye contact and with a smile on your face. This is a great start
and will demonstrate that you are pleasant, approachable and
Of course your demeanor must be maintained when you first
greet the interviewer. We all know that the first 60 seconds of
any meeting are crucial and it is during this time that a
prospective employer will form an opinion of you. So start by
shaking hands firmly and confidently and again smile, make eye
contact, and stand up straight. This will make the most of this
crucial and limited window of time and should mean that your
self-assurance is perceived positively by your interviewer before
the discussion even begins.
Now you are in the interview itself you must try and pay
attention to your body language. When you are seated try and
focus on the following:
• Try and relax your shoulders but ensure you’re still sitting up
• Nod and smile in agreement to points the interviewer makes.
• Sit forward to give an impression of confidence and interest
but also be mindful of not encroaching the interviewer’s
• Maintain eye contact but make sure it is steady and natural –
don’t stare incessantly.
• Make a conscious effort not to fidget. If you have a tendency
to do so keep your hands clasped together on the table or in
• If possible, try and mirror your interviewer’s body language to
show empathy. One way to do this is to follow their forward/
and backward movements, as they lean in or back away in
the course of your discussion.
• Try and avoid slouching, rocking back in your chair, sitting with
crossed arms or glancing all over the place.
• At the end of the interview make sure your farewell handshake
is as confident as when you first met.
• And most importantly try and be yourself and as natural as
you can be.
By being aware of the importance of body language in an
interview situation, but also in all your day to day personal
interactions your chances of getting the outcomes you desire
from these relationships should be greatly enhanced. m
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The importance of
In this article John Hackett discusses how to deliver information
in an interview and the significant part body language plays in
securing a new role.
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