How to Improve Your Body Language During An Interview
Everyone gets nervous for job interviews. But you can show calm and collected confidence with these techniques to help you loosen up and project self-assurance.
When you think of adopting a confident posture in an interview, the cliche is to sit up ramrod straight, make direct eye contact and provide a strong and powerful handshake. But the downside of such postures is it can come off as wooden and unnatural.
Remember, you’re interviewing with humans, not robots. Your goal in an interview is to show your confidence in a natural way, instead of forcing it. The good news is you can show a calm confidence in a job interview with a few techniques that help you loosen up and project self-assurance. Here are some methods for you to improve body language during an interview.
It starts with breathing
Your outward appearance starts inward. Notice your breathing. Is it shallow and from your upper body? If so, that will cause your chest to constrict, your shoulders to tighten up, your entire torso to hunch over, and your voice to come out squeaky and less confident. Instead, focus on inhaling from your diaphragm - the lower, the better. When you take this path, it naturally opens up your airways, helps you sit up taller, and deepens the timbre of your voice to sound more confident.
Pay attention to tension spots
We all hold tension in different muscles of our bodies when we’re under stress. What you may not realize is this can give off the impression that you’re overly stiff or anxious. To prevent this issue, first take stock of where you’re tensing your muscles. Common places for this are the jaw, the neck, the shoulders or your hands. Before your interview, practice tightening these problem areas, which will help release the tension. During your interview, keep checking in to see if you’ve tensed up again. If so, just calmly breathe and soften the area.
Don’t hold a staring contest
Frequently looking down and away makes people think you aren’t confident. But on the other hand, constant eye contact without breaking away makes people uncomfortable. Again, the goal here is balance. You want to maintain steady eye contact both as a speaker and a listener to show a sincere interest. At the same time, take breaks every few seconds for the sanity of you and your interviewer.
The simplest body language technique may also be the most effective - smile. A smile makes people feel accepted and liked, which creates a “halo effect” that improves how you are evaluated overall. That doesn’t mean you should beam throughout an interview, of course. But a real smile to bookend the interview will give a positive first and final impression, even more than a handshake. A genuine smile comes from your eyes, not just your mouth. To create this authentic smile, think about the satisfaction you’d get from landing this job. Let that feeling come through and it will appear as a real, genuine smile.
To sum up, when it comes to body language in an interview, you want to balance “just be yourself” with “be confident.” Use these techniques and you can be your best self, confidently.
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