Interviews: Actions speak louder than words

Interviews: Actions speak louder than words

At interview, it’s not only what you say, but also how you say it that influences whether the interviewer thinks you are the right person for the job.

By following a few simple rules, you can ensure that you convey the right message during your interview.

1. The greeting

This immediate first impression will colour their perceptions for most of the rest of the interview, so it is important to get off to a good start. Look directly into their eyes, smile and go to shake their hand. Even if you are nervous, this will come across as warm and friendly.

2. Posture

This is extremely important so make sure that you do not slouch, however don’t be too stiff either. Folding your arms during your interview can look very defensive, so if you are unsure what to do with your hands, simply rest them in your lap. Leaning forward slightly in your chair will reinforce that you are interested and listening to what is being said.

3. Gestures

It’s fine to be expressive with your hands to illustrate any points. However, make sure that you have prepared your answers well in advance, because when people waffle, or they touch upon a subject that is emotive, such as the reasons for leaving their last job, their gestures can undermine their words. Waving your arms, fidgeting feet, dropping eye contact are signs of discomfort and could be interpreted as if you were trying to hide something.

4. Spatial awareness

This can be tricky to get right as the location of the interview chair will determine some of this. You need to be close enough to feel that you are having a conversation rather than having to project your voice as if you were making a speech. However, do not get so close that you encroach on their personal space.

5. Get feedback

It is very hard to be objective about how you come across at interview so the best way to find out is to do a mock interview. Work with someone, like a career coach, who can really put you through your paces and give you honest and informed feedback. If you can use a video to record your session, even better. You
can also try rehearsing your answers out loud in front of a mirror. Your body language will noticeably change in the areas where you feel less confident or are ill-prepared, and these are the areas you will need to work on further before the interview takes place.

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