|Candidate Resources - Preparing for Your Face-To-Face Interview
The Importance of Body Language During the Interview Process
- A successful interview will start with a firm handshake by a well-dressed candidate. A limp handshake is a strong negative. Anything less than a professional business attire, neat grooming and well shined shoes will surely end the interview quickly. Unless an alternative dress code has been agreed upon.
- Remember to always look the interviewer directly in the eye. Lack of eye contact usually Indicates dishonesty and leads an interview to a quick end.
- Every question should be answered fully, and honestly. But, don't be verbose. If you try to hide anything, or if the interviewer has to dig for answers, you eliminate yourself.
- In the interviewing process, average people talk about themselves. Good people tell you what they have done, and the really special people tell you how well they've done it. The employer simply sits across the desk trying to figure out which one would be his/her best choice for hire.
- Join that very small group that can tell the employer how he can benefit by hiring them. Make a list of all your accomplishments. If you think it's important enough to say "I did that!", write it down. On a one to one ratio, figure out how each accomplishment will benefit your next employer. Commit your list to memory and always keep it current. You will use it every time you interview. You will never get out in the parking lot after an interview and think of something you wish you had said.
- After you finish your accomplishments/benefits list, prepare a list of twenty good job related questions that have nothing to do with money or benefits. Most of the questions will answer themselves in the course of the interview, but if you have it least twenty, you'll have something intelligent left to ask.
- Remember, preparing for an interview is the difference between getting the job, or just getting a "Thank you." So, don't hesitate to ask your recruiter about anything that you don't fully understand.
- Don't forget to ask for the job if you want it, or for what is the next step in the process.
Opinions are already being formed, even before you say your first word in an interview. By the time the interviewer walks toward you, you are already being judged by your appearance, posture, smile or nervous look.
A study done at UCLA a few years ago revealed that the impact of a performance was based on 7 percent of the words used, 38 percent on voice quality and 55 percent on nonverbal communication.
Look back at speakers or teachers you've listened to. Which ones stand out as memorable? The ones who were more animated and entertaining or the ones who just gave out information? This is not to say you have to entertain the interviewer (no jokes, please), but it does mean the conversation should be more interactive. If you say you are excited about the prospect of working for this company but don't show any enthusiasm, your message will probably fall flat. So smile, gesture once in a while, show some energy and make the experience more pleasurable for both sides.
Nonverbal Pitfalls to Watch For:
Preparing what you have to say is important, but practicing how you will say it is imperative. The nonverbal message can speak louder than the verbal message you are sending.
- The handshake: It's your first encounter with the interviewer. He holds out his or her hand and receives a limp, damp hand in return -- not a very good beginning. Your handshake should be firm -- not bone-crushing -- and your hand should be dry and warm. Try running cold water on your hands when you first arrive at the interview site. Run warm water if your hands tend to be cold. The insides of your wrists are especially sensitive to temperature control.
- Your posture: Stand and sit erect. We're not talking "ramrod" posture, but show some energy and enthusiasm. A slouching posture looks tired and uncaring. Check yourself out in a mirror or on videotape.
- Eye contact: Look the interviewer in the eye. You don't want to stare, as this shows aggression. Occasionally, and nonchalantly, glance at the interviewer's hand as he is speaking. By constantly looking around the room while you are talking, you convey a lack of confidence or discomfort with what is being discussed.
- Your hands: Gesturing or talking with your hands is very natural. Getting carried away with hand gestures can be distracting. Also, avoid touching your mouth while talking. Watch yourself in a mirror while talking on the phone. Chances are you are probably using some of the same gestures in an interview.
- Don't fidget: There is nothing worse than someone playing with his or her hair, clicking a pen top, tapping a foot or unconsciously touching parts of the body.