When attending an interview for a graduate job you want to impress the employer and convince them that you are a great fit for their team.
Looking smart and doing your research is a great starting point, however many graduates let themselves down with something much more subtle: body language.
In fact, the majority of our daily communication is nonverbal. After numerous studies, Dr. Albert Mehrabian found that 55% of any message is conveyed through nonverbal elements.
These include facial expressions, posture and gestures.
- 38% of the message is conveyed through your voice
- only 7% through words!
Your body language then, is actually doing most of the talking when you attend an interview but is it saying the right things?
Here are some common body language areas that let graduates down at interview.
When you first meet your interviewer, they will greet you with a handshake. This is one of your first opportunities to make a good impression!
If you give a weak handshake, you are instantly signalling to the interviewer that you lack authority.
Be sure not to go too far the other way either. An overly firm handshake comes across as aggressive. It’s all about the balance; your handshake should be solid and confident.
Lack of eye contact
Making eye contact with your employer will show that you are confident and engaged.
Many graduates let nerves get the better of them and naturally avoid making eye contact with their interviewer.
However, this may signal that you are deceptive, disrespectful or lacking confidence.
This very much ties in with making eye contact. Of course you don’t want to stare your interviewer in the eye for the entire interview (this could be creepy).
However, looking down a lot shows that you are uncomfortable or self-conscious.
If you’re selling yourself by telling the interviewer about your achievements at university, looking down can undermine everything you say and make your words lose their persuasive power.
Poor posture only sends negative signals to those around us.
It suggests that you have low energy and low self-esteem so be sure not to slouch.
Crossing your arms is very obviously guarded body language.
You are essentially creating a barrier between yourself and your interviewer and that is not good.
If you cross your arms during an interview it may signal that you are not interested in the opportunity or what the interviewer is talking about.
By keeping your body language open, you will be better able to build rapport and connect with your interviewer.
Checking the time
When your interviewer is speaking to you, you should never try to sneak a glance at your watch or the clock on the wall.
They will spot it and checking the time suggests that you are disinterested and could even be seen as arrogant.
This can be a difficult aspect to control especially when you’re nervous. Fidgeting or touching your hair a lot is a clear sign of feeling uncomfortable or anxious.
Excessive fidgeting is also quite annoying and can be distracting.
To show your interviewer that you are engaged and interested you should ensure that your body is angled towards them.
Leaning away suggests that you might be uncomfortable or disinterested.
If you can get your body language to work with rather than against you at your interviews, you’ll have a much better chance of winning the job.
All employers want to see confident and enthusiastic graduates.
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