Interviews are always nerve-racking, especially if you’re trying to land your dream job. There’s a lot more of what you’re saying on how you project yourself to your interviews. That’s why practice makes perfect to help you avoid interview mistakes.
Planning what you’re going to wear and thinking about the things you will say are both crucial for making the right impression on a potential boss. Projecting the right body language is just as important, as posture, facial expressions and hand gestures can all communicate unspoken feelings to the interviewer. Whether you’re having a face-to-face interview or an online one, it helps that you’re prepared.
A relaxed, alert and open posture gives the impression that you feel at ease and are interested in what the interviewer is saying. Practicing your posture at home or while performing routine chores, such as queuing at the local store, helps to retrain your body and will make it easier to project the right image at your interview.
Whether you’re standing or sitting down, your back should be straight and your shoulders should be relaxed. Check that your shoulders are not rounded forward or hunched up to your ears. Pull your shoulders back by pushing your shoulder blades together, then allow your shoulders to relax and fall away from your ears. Relax your hands and let them rest by your side or in your lap.
Maintaining good eye contact is crucial for building rapport and trust. However, there’s a fine line between attentive eye contact and staring, so it’s important to keep your gaze soft and natural. Keep your upper body and head level; try to avoid leaning back or pushing your head too far forward. Leaning in slightly while the interviewer is talking can help show that you are listening, but leaning too far forward can appear aggressive.
Tension around the jaw and forehead can make you appear anxious or uncomfortable. Trying to control or disguise your facial expressions can make it difficult for the interviewer to trust or believe what you are saying, as incongruent facial expressions will send mixed messages. Relax your facial muscles and allow your natural facial expressions to show. You can instantly relax your jaw and the surrounding muscles by allowing your tongue to fall away from the roof of your mouth.
Use open hand gestures to inspire trust. Practice keeping your hands relaxed by consciously extending and spreading your fingers while talking. Avoid crossing your arms, fidgeting, playing with your hair or touching your face, as these gestures are often interpreted as defensive or dishonest.
Finally, always sit or stand with your body facing the interviewer. Avoid slumping in the chair or leaning on the desk, arm of the chair or other surfaces. In addition, try to mirror the interviewer’s body language, as this will help to build rapport.