By Dan Simmons
It’s not just what you say during a job interview . . . it’s also how you say it.
Your visual impression or body language is just as important as what you actually say when it comes to the overall effect that you have on others. Generally, it’s important to convey the image of a person with whom the interviewer would like to work (a topic I touched upon in a previous blog post, “The Power of a Positive Attitude.”)
Enthusiasm, interest level, sincerity, openness, and warmth go into the chemistry that often makes or breaks a hiring decision. You need to be aware of the little things that others see in your facial expressions, postures, energy levels, and gestures. Generally, you should be dynamic and friendly, but one notch less than the person interviewing you.
It’s obvious that interviewers prefer people who smile versus those who frown, so smile whenever appropriate. However, your facial expressions should change to reflect the mood of the conversation.
Nodding agreement encourages others to talk, as well as let them know that you understand what’s being said. Your head should be held erect (not tilted or stiff) during the interview, and you should keep your hands away from your face or neck area while talking.
Eye contact is one of the best aspects of body language. Good eye contact with the interviewer sends a message of trustworthiness, confidence, and credibility while fostering open discussion. On the other hand, poor eye contact often reflects a lack of self-confidence, a low self-image, and a lack of enthusiasm.
It’s particularly important to maintain 10 to 15 seconds of eye contact when first meeting a person before looking away. Do not stare into the person’s eyes, but come back to the eye contact often during your discussion. Don’t underestimate the importance of your body language and the overall attitude that you convey, because saying AND doing the right things ultimately brings you one step closer to a successful interview and an offer of employment.