Going for an interview is always a nervous experience and there is one key aspect that a lot of candidates can struggle with – getting your body language right.
You may have prepared as thoroughly as you can, and you may have memorised all the key information about the company, but if your body language doesn’t communicate the right message then you will always be hindering your chances. As I mentioned in a previous blog, presentation is just as important as content and the two need to work side-by-side.
It is all about getting the right message over but just as importantly it is about winning the confidence of the people you are talking to. You need to convince the interviewers that you are the right person for the job.
The reality is that a large part of body language is governed and controlled by the way you feel about yourself and the confidence you have in your own skills and abilities. If you have very little self-belief then that will come across loud and clear.
Not everyone can be naturally charismatic or take instant control of a situation, but people can teach themselves tricks and exercises to boost their confidence, and therefore way they present themselves.
One of the best methods is convincing yourself of your own preparation. A good trick is to give yourself a little mental test on some of the key information you researched. The more you remember, the more positive you will feel going into the interview and this naturally translates to your body language. It’s a trick actors sometimes use before going on stage – they quickly run over their lines and if they know they’ve got everything spot on, then that gives them a little lift at just the right time.
Another tip is to visualise previous successes you have had. Think back to past interviews that have gone well for you – what sort of things worked well? How did you break the ice with your interviewer? Don’t worry if you’ve not been to many interviews before; the key is to remember previous occasions where you’ve conquered your nerves so it really can be anything. Perhaps you once gave a winning presentation, or maybe you had to get up in front of hundreds of people at a wedding and make a speech. Either way, having this memory fresh gives you that little bit of self-belief.
As with anything, practice can make a big difference so if possible find someone to give you help. Many people might not actually realise that they are giving off all the wrong signals by the way they hold themselves, so it can make all the difference to get a second opinion.
If you are really struggling, then it can be a worthwhile exercise to film yourself in a mock-interview situation with a family member or friend. It may be difficult watching yourself on film but it allows you to spot your mistakes and constantly analyse what you are doing right and wrong.
This is all before you get into the interview, but once you are there remember all the basics. Turning up on time is essential – if you’re late this puts your mind in a fluster and you will find that you are already on the back foot.
Your demeanour needs to reflect the confidence you want to project. Interviewers are human beings and will make a judgement based on first impressions, so if you walk in with your shoulders slouched and a weak handshake then your first impression won’t be the best.
Maintain eye contact when giving answers; looking away or at the ground makes it seem like you aren’t being entirely truthful. Be sure not to rush your answers in the eagerness to make an impression though – there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving yourself time to compose an answer.