Bad Interview Body Language
Your body language is equally as important as your resume. When you walk into an interview room, potential employers can tell a lot about you without you even saying a word. You may not be conscious of your own habits and could be damaging your chances at being hired.
Take a moment to reflect on how you carry yourself and what habits you take with you into the interview room. Once you become aware of your bad body language traits, you can change them and replace them with positive ones.
Your General Demeanor
As soon as you enter the room, your general demeanor is instantly noticeable. How you hold yourself and how you sit tells the interviewer how you deal with new environments and stressful situations. Below are a few actions to be aware of when interviewing for a new job:
- Fidgeting is a sign of nervousness. Even if you are nervous, playing with your hair or constantly moving around in your chair is distracting. An interviewer may not believe you are capable of handling the pressures that come with the job. Presenting yourself as calm and confident reflects on the way you also handle business.
- Shifting in your seat may make you seem bored or apprehensive. Staying alert and making purposeful movements will demonstrate you are engaged and interested.
- Checking the time may make you come across as impatient. An interviewer may think you are not happy or bored with the interview. Try to avoid glancing at wall clocks or down at your watch. Even if your mind is on the interview, constantly diverting your attention to a clock will give the impression that you want to leave.
- Being rigid will make you seem uncomfortable and nervous. Do not sit on your hands and do not forget to be expressive. Expressing yourself with ease allows the interviewer to also be at ease.
- Staying closed off and taking up a small amount of space may imply that you are not powerful. Be mindful of your overall demeanor and how you hold yourself in the interview room. Remaining open and feeling confident in your own skin will relay the same sense of confidence to your future employer.
In addition to the above, failing to mirror your interviewer is a lost opportunity. Crossing your legs when they do and naturally matching their movements creates a subconscious bond. Failing to do this may leave you both feeling disconnected.
Posture refers to both your standing and sitting positions. As you walk into the room, make sure you stand up straight. Slouched shoulders give the impression of being apathetic and disinterested.
Similarly, when you sit down, do not lean back in your chair for the entire interview. This may be construed as apprehensiveness. When you lean back, you create distance between you and the interviewer. As a result, you may come across as being cold or closed off.
Be conscious of how you are sitting and make sure your head is held high. This will show that you are being attentive and open to new ideas, particularly when it comes to finding a job.
Looking someone in the eye when you are talking to them not only makes you seem confident but also tells them that you are listening. If you constantly break eye contact or avoid looking at the interviewer, he or she may feel that you are being dishonest or insecure.
Also, looking toward the floor while talking about past experiences can give the impression that those events were negative. Looking up after being asked a question may imply you are lying. Shifty eye movements are also a sign of dishonesty.
Similarly, if you are asked a tricky question or need to talk about a previous unsuccessful experience, looking away generates a feeling of being rejected and nervous causing an employer to question the truth behind the situation. Preparing for your interview by practicing answers to routine questions about your professional experience can help you focus on retaining eye contact rather than looking away while thinking about an answer.
While keeping eye contact is important, it is not advisable to stare. Staring at an interviewer may make them feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. Similarly, staring into space may give the impression that you are bored or disinterested. Even if you are performing mental arrhythmic or processing your answer to the next question, avoid staring without showing purpose.
Using certain hand gestures may make you come across as aggressive or angry. Be aware of your hands and how you use them in a conversation. Excessively pointing or chopping the air in front of you negatively affects the space between you are the interviewer. Unintentionally creating a negative atmosphere may cause the interviewer to become defensive.
Related Article: The Latest Resume Tips
You may be making these gestures without knowing it. Take time to notice your movements when you talk, explain a point or tell a story. If you find yourself using aggressive hand gestures, train yourself to use calming motions instead.
Crossing your arms may feel comfortable but is also a sign of defensiveness. An interviewer may interpret your gesture as disagreeing with his or her point. While being constructively critical or offering opposing viewpoints is sometimes necessary, appearing as though you disapprove when in reality you do not, will not serve you.
Crossing your arms can also be a sign of arrogance. While you want to show the interviewer that you are confident, arrogance may not be a quality they are looking for. Providing an open space between you and the interviewer will keep you both connected and show that you are open to what they have to say.
Your facial expressions say a lot about who you are and how you are processing your environment. Therefore, your expressions should match what you are saying. Explaining that you are passionate about your career or a certain project without smiling may seem confusing to an interviewer. He or she may question whether you are telling the truth.
Make yourself aware of any habits you have and avoid the following expressions:
- Biting your lip shows fear or anxiety.
- Scratching your head displays confusion.
- Flaring your nostrils can make you seem angry.
- Narrowing your eyes is a sign of judgment.
- Raising your eyebrows gives the impression that you do not believe what is being said.
- Nodding excessively can become distracting and annoying.
Related Article: How to Train for a Career in Less Than a Year