Giving the right, or wrong answer, can impact greatly on the outcome of an interview. But it isn’t simply what we say that can give off the right, or wrong, impression. Body language plays a huge part too. The way we act, where we look and the gestures we perform can all give off tell-tale signs about our personality, mood and whether or not we’re telling the truth.
Don’t worry though, interviewers aren’t kinesics experts (that’s the fancy term for interpreters of body language, facial expressions and gestures!) – but uncomfortable, guarded and nervous actions are but a few of the gestures potential employers can notice.
We don’t have our own kinesics experts here at Cactus Search, so we’ve scoured high and low for studies on the key gestures that can affect your interview process:
Handshakes can show a lot about character: a weak or limp handshake might suggest timidity, a lack of enthusiasm or confidence, not the greatest of qualities for management or leadership roles. The opposite of this, an iron grip handshake, might suggest arrogance.
A firm handshake seems to be best as it isn’t overbearing and conveys the right amount of confidence and enthusiasm.
For the conspiracy theorists, you might want to try a secret handshake but we don’t recommend it. (Click here to view a few samples!)
Eye contact is key in building a rapport with your interviewer.
Looking away when answering a question can show nervousness and if you’re going for a role that requires you to be proactive, command authority and drive sales, looking away can be quite detrimental to your success.
Making eye contact, and holding it, shows that you’re comfortable and relaxed:
Scrunching your body up or creating barriers with your arms (touching your face, stroking your hair or folding your arms) suggests that you’re uncomfortable and doesn’t help when trying to establish a memorable connection with your interviewer. Blocking yourself from the interviewer also conveys the idea that you’re guarded, perhaps even transparent in your answers.
Like always though, being too relaxed might suggest you aren’t taking the interview seriously or a lack of interest in the role you’re interviewing for.
Keep away from looking, and leaning toward doors and windows. They’re often associated with escape routes, and looking at them can imply you want to escape from the interview.
…your head or the back of your neck is something we do when we might be disinterested. Be aware of the image this conveys.
The best tip is to keep hands before you, allow your gestures to flow freely allowing you to be expressive, open and enthusiastic.
If you really want to demonstrate curiosity and enthusiasm, lean forward, showing a keen interest in what the interviewer is saying.
We often don’t realise the images that our body language creates. However, now armed with these tips on what to do, and what not to do, you can be aware of how important what you say, and what you do, in an interview.