After you've handed in your application and resume but before you hear the words "you're hired" comes that nerve-wracking, get-to-know-you encounter: the interview. Making a good impression is crucial and while interviewers will be listening to what you have to say, they'll also be watching how you present yourself. Here are six tips to make sure your body language doesn't contradict what you're saying about why you're the right person for the job:
Prior to leaving for the interview, bend at the waist and take three to five deep breaths, then slowly raise into a standing position, letting your back naturally stack vertebrae upon vertebrae and finish by lifting your head, as if pulled by an invisible string from the top of your head. This simple, quick trick will have you standing tall and ready to rock the interview. Remember: your potential future employer will be watching you from the moment you arrive at the location, so try to get all your jitters out early so you exude poise and confidence until you've arrived back home.
2. Eye Contact
Don't stare down at your hands or the floor, but don't drill holes into your potential new employer's head with your laser gaze, either. Maintain friendly, attentive eye contact when a question is being asked, but when thinking of your answer don't be afraid to look elsewhere in the room, making sure to look back at the interviewer upon finishing your reply. If there are multiple people in the room during the interview, make sure to shift your glance between everyone and give each person attention.
One of the initial moments a future employer will take into account when assessing if you're right for the job is the handshake. While it might seem trivial, it is important to show confidence and eagerness through a firm handshake. Take care to not squeeze their hand too hard, but don't present a limp limb, either; take your cues from the other person. If helpful, ask a friend to practice with you prior to your interview.
4. Upper Body
Avoid slouching while sitting by keeping your back against the back of the chair and your shoulders relaxed. Gesture with your hands while speaking to show you are animated and engaged in your detailed answers to their questions, but be careful to not flail wildly. Keeping your hands level with your abdomen and slightly above the table will help maintain professionalism while expressing interest.
5. Lower Body
Keep your feet on the floor, with you knees touching, during the interview. If you feel the urge to shift position and move your feet, cross at the ankle, but be wary of anything more—you don't want to accidentally knee a table and throw off your A game. Don't tap or jiggle your foot or leg and distract not only yourself, but also those interviewing you from what a great person you'd be for the job. Don't forget: As you enter and leave, be sure to have a lengthy stride and straight posture to visibly project confidence.
6. Head and Mind
Communication is not just external; you subconsciously share your thoughts through your stance, your posture and even your expression. Before you head to the interview, take a few deep breaths and give yourself a mental check over. Run through your introduction and highlights of why you're the best fit for the job to give yourself a confidence boost before you meet your interviewer. Relaxing and thinking positive thoughts will help you hold your head high and walk into the interview ready to take on the world.
7. Bonus Tip: Power Stances!
Take a moment at home, or in the bathroom, to give yourself one last boost before walking into the interview with a quick power stance. Stand tall with your feet hip width apart and your hands on your hips, keeping your back and neck straight. Standing like this for even a minute can help boost your self-confidence and prepare you to face whatever questions come your way.
This article was originally published in the Sept. 24, 2017, print edition of Fall 2017 Job Fair. For questions regarding the Fall 2017 Job Fair, please contact Lisa Hartlieb, firstname.lastname@example.org.