No matter how experienced or inexperienced you are, interviews can be incredibly daunting experiences.
But you don’t need to think and feel about them that way!
See them as an opportunity to let your potential new employer know exactly what makes you tick, the passion you have, the confidence you exude, the aspirations you crave.
It’s not just a matter of ‘saying the right things’ – you need to show them as well.
The old expression ‘actions speak louder than words’ is true in many aspects of life, and interviews are no different.
On paper you could be the best candidate for the position, but if you talk with your head down or turn up dressed in a Halloween costume, you’re not going to get very far.
If it isn’t obvious already, good body language is an essential element in impressing interviewers.
So, this article will provide you with tips and tricks that will perhaps be the difference between a polite rejection and a dream job offer.
First Impressions Count
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
It only takes 7 seconds to make a first impression on another neurotypical human being.
Our brains are hard-wired for efficiency. Although it may not seem fair that your very first words or actions in their presence will leave an indelible impression on another person, that’s just the way it is.
One of the very first things an interviewer will notice is what you’re wearing (wearing nothing at all is a bold play – and we’d better put it on record that we’d strongly recommend NOT going for this option!).
Like it or not, the way you dress says a lot to another person. It will tell the interviewer something about you from the get-go.
Not only does dressing the right way show how serious you are about the job, it also demonstrates that you understand the culture and environment that you’re trying to become a part of.
It may be hard, but it’s time to leave that ‘Lockdown Chic’ behind you and dress for your interview in a way that shows you mean business!
Make Eye Contact
Like in any conversation, making and holding eye contact establishes a bond between a speaker and a listener that benefits both parties.
Poor eye contact, on the other hand, often implies that you are hiding something or are just being downright disrespectful. Not very eye-deal! (sorry).
Although it can be awkward holding eye contact with a stranger – especially if you aren’t feeling very confident – making and maintaining eye contact with your interviewer will make you appear engaged and self-assured.
If there is more than one interviewer, it helps to transition between them when you’re talking, to show that you acknowledge and respect their presence.
At the end of the day, an interview is your opportunity to really sell yourself, so establishing a bond with interviewers by making eye contact will show them that you’re mature, trustworthy and worth buying into.
You’re The Voice
“Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that. Could you speak up a bit, please? And slow down a little? We’re finding it hard to understand you”.
Ah. Awkward. And a pretty good sign that your interview isn’t going as well as it could be.
OK, so you’re quite shy and have a naturally soft voice. That’s absolutely fine. But, equally, if you’re meek and as quiet as a church mouse, then you’ll struggle to convince employers that you are the right fit for certain environments.
Hey, we’re not saying that you have to project your voice across the valleys like booming Brian Blessed. You just need to speak with enough confidence and clarity to show that you can communicate properly, and aren’t terrified by absolutely everything.
It may be that you’re completely qualified and a great candidate for every job that you go for, and the reason that you’re not being hired is because you come across as lacking in confidence and the verbal communication skills necessary for the job.
So, to give yourself the best chance of nailing the job, why not practice with your friends and family ahead of the interview? Make sure you’re enunciating properly and coming across in the way you want to.
Don’t speak too quickly, or they won’t catch what you’re saying. And don’t speak too slowly or formally, or they’ll think you’re some kind of malfunctioning robot. Take a deep(ish) breath before answering a question; be clear; and choose your words carefully. Give the impression of confidence and control.
A good tip is to warm up your voice before an interview. Count to five while you hum, and then release the breath. When your voice starts to feel looser, start humming higher and lower notes. This exercise is easy on your vocal mechanisms and perfect for those early morning interviews.
Get Your Personality Across
You’ve got a great personality. People love to be around you. You make everyone feel at ease.
So, the last thing you want to do is undersell yourself at interview and seem like a wet rag.
The interviewer may have loads of other candidates to see that day with skills and experience very similar to yours, so you need to leave a lasting impression. Don’t be afraid to be funny (within reason – steer clear of any bawdy jokes or anything that may seem disrespectful) and to flesh out your answers (without droning on).
Your personality could be just what they’re looking for, and a good performance in interview could put you on the road to great things. Just make sure that you strike a balance and walk the line. Finding a good blend between being friendly and professional will boost your chances of success.
Struggling to get interviews?
One of the easiest and most subtle ways of forming a connection with your interviewer is to align your body language with theirs, thereby opening up avenues of mutual understanding.
Simple gestures such as nodding when your interviewer says something of note will send a good message, and give them the impression that you’re comfortable in conversation.
In contrast, crossing your arms or slouching in your seat may make it seem like you’re disinterested and defensive.
You Can Do It!
It’s completely normal to be nervous ahead of an interview. It’s actually a good thing, as it will focus the mind and keep your eyes on the prize.
The most important thing is to try your best to be calm and composed.
This is your time to shine (not too much, mind you – don’t treat your interview like a Britain’s Got Talent audition!), so seize your opportunity with both hands. Prepare well, be the best possible version of yourself… and go and nail that interview!
Looking for a job in Darlington, the North East or beyond?
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