Recently there have been a few good TV programs about people who use people’s body language to tell what they are really thinking. Programs like Lie to Me and the Mentalist. Being interested in psychology, I love to learn more from programs like this that are based on real research.
Body language and job interviews
Here are a few things that we can take from these programs (all verified in other sources too) that will help us to project ourselves as honest, genuine, dedicated candidates in a job interview.
When you are speaking, use wide, open gestures as these show that you are genuine and you have nothing to hide. Holding your arms in front of you with the palms facing up is a good example. Crosiing your arms will of course make you look defensive and hands in your pockets makes you look unconfident.
The way you sit at the interview table tells the interviewer a little about where you want to be as your subconscious will often point your feet in the direction that it wants to go. So if you sit with your legs crossed and they are pointed towards the door, you look uncomfortable. You look like you want to escape this situation. The same is often true with your eyes glancing at the door (or a clock), and the direction of your shoulders.
Smile with your eyes
The way to tell if someone is giving you genuine smiles is to look at their eyes. When you offer a fake smile, you use all of the muscles in the lower part of your face but your eyes do not smile. Try this in front of a mirror. Cover the lower half of your face and give a fake smile and the upper part of your face will not change. Now, think of something that amuses you and you will see how your eyes smile when you are genuine.
Seasoned interviewers know to look for the smiling eyes.
If you do cross your legs in the interview, be aware of your feet and legs. If you shake your foot or bounce one leg on top of the other, you look nervous. Interviewers are usually looking for someone who looks confident that they can do the job without looking arrogant.
Why your body language is important in job interviews
Keep in mind that first impressions are made in the first 7-10 seconds of an interview and that 55% of communication is through body language (38% through the tone of your voice and only 7% through the actual words that you choose). So, if you are not sure about what your body is saying to interviewers, practice in front of a mirror.
If you have been following this blog, you have already written a resume that stands out and a good cover letter. But make sure that hard work does not go to waste, interviewers will judge candidates on the their feeling about the person as much as or more than their qualifications. Read about some other things to avoid in a job interview at Top six interview faux pas.