In previous blogs, we’ve discussed tips to help you succeed in an interview. However, we have not yet done a deep dive into a crucial component of interview success: body language.
Body language is a way that we communicate nonverbally with others, both consciously and unconsciously. It is a powerful tool that conveys our thoughts and emotions through gestures, facial expressions, and posture.
The importance of body language is often overlooked. However, to an employer, it says a lot about someone’s preparation, confidence, and personality. It can potentially make or break an applicant's chances.
Even in virtual interviews, body language remains a key factor of a successful interview. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of body language in job interviews, including virtual ones.
First Impressions Matter
First impressions are critical, and body language plays a significant role in making a lasting impression. In the first seven seconds of meeting you (and some research suggests even sooner), employers are already making judgments in areas such as your trustworthiness and likeability.
This may sound intimidating, but it is also an opportunity. The very first chance you get to convey that you are prepared and confident is through body language.
Start off your interview by walking in with good posture and a confident demeanor. Even if you don’t feel confident, remember that you are prepared and qualified for this job. Also, keep in mind that the interviewer wants this to go well for you!
As soon as you walk in, you can already be making eye comfortable contact. Then, greet your interviewers with a genuine smile and a firm handshake.
These nonverbal behaviors will communicate that you are self-possessed and poised, which will help you make a terrific first impression.
Your Virtual First Impression
In online interviews, first impressions are equally important. Even though the interviewer cannot see you in person, they will still observe your body language: facial expressions, eye contact, and posture.
Thus, it is essential to be cognizant of your posture, make eye contact when appropriate, and avoid distractions.
Complementing (or Contradicting) Verbal Expressions
Body language also contributes to how your spoken words come across. Through your body language, you send messages, whether you intend to or not. These non-verbal cues can either reinforce what you are saying or contradict it, leading to either clarity or confusion.
For example, fidgeting or slouching in the chair during an interview can convey nervousness or lack of confidence, which can negatively affect the interviewer's impression. Even if you came into the interview prepared and ready to answer questions, this kind of body language might give them mixed signals about your preparedness.
On the other hand, sitting up straight, maintaining eye contact, and using complementary hand gestures will convey that you are confident and interested in the job.
Your Verbal Expressions Virtually
In virtual interviews, non-verbal cues can be even more critical. Alongside being mindful of your posture, eye contact, and gestures, it is also essential to ensure that your environment is conducive to the interview.
Being in a noisy or distracting space could send the message that you are not interested. Check that your camera angle is appropriate, you are visible in the frame, and your background is neat and free of distractions.
Demonstrate You are Focused and Engaged
Employers want to hire candidates who are highly motivated and eager to engage with work-related material. From your body language, interviewers may make judgments about how enthusiastic you are to be there.
Small unconscious behaviors, like fidgeting or gazing around the room, can send the message that you are distracted or uninterested in what the interviewer is saying, even if this is not the case.
On the other hand, intentional non-verbal cues like eye contact, sitting up straight, and being still in your seat helps to communicate that you are present and enthusiastic. This will show you are excited to talk with them about the job at hand.
Demonstrating Focus and Engagement Virtually
If your interview is online, this is especially important. Online environments are notorious for being full of distractions. Thus, it is crucial that you take steps to ensure a disturbance-free space.
One easy way to do this is to put all devices into “do not disturb” mode, or alternatively place devices you are not using for the interview in a different room. The last thing you need is notifications popping up, while you are trying to concentrate on an interview.
Also, take the interview in a space that is as quiet as possible. It’s understandable that sometimes things happen: your dog starts barking or your upstairs neighbor decides to take up tap dancing. Try to plan to have the interview in a space with the least number of anticipated distractors.
Mirroring the interviewer
Mirroring is when you subtly mimic or reflect another’s body language. Some examples of mirroring include assuming a similar posture or matching someone’s tone of voice. You might already be doing this subconsciously: many of us have a natural tendency to mimic others when we’re engaged in a conversation.
Mirroring the interviewer’s body language can help build rapport and establish a connection.
You don’t need to sit in positions that feel awkward or scratch your head after the interviewer scratches theirs. It is important that mirroring remains subtle. Otherwise, it can come off as forced or even a bit strange.
Subtle mirroring behaviors will probably come naturally after you have made other efforts to connect with the interviewer. This can be done through the means talked about earlier, like facing the interviewer and making eye contact.
Then, mirroring can be as simple as sitting slightly forward if they are or sitting a little more relaxed in your seat if they are doing so.
In virtual interviews, building a connection can be challenging due to the lack of in-person interaction. Thus, mirroring can be a helpful way to build rapport.
Mirroring online can be achieved by listening actively to the interviewer, maintaining good eye contact, and subtly mimicking facial expressions and gestures.
Ultimately, body language is an essential, yet overlooked, aspect of job interviews, both in-person and virtual. It plays a significant role in making a good first impression, showing that you are interested, and building rapport.
Being intentional about the nonverbal cues you are sending can help you convey confidence, interest, and attentiveness. By doing so, you can increase your chances of having a successful interview and of ultimately landing the job you want!
If you are looking for more personalized advice, don't hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!