6 Easy Body Language Interview Tips
I asked the question recently about how important is dress in a construction industry interview. It’s sparked a number of conversations with candidates and clients and triggered a further debate about body language.
I regularly see articles about the importance of body language when communicating, especially in interviews. I found myself thinking is this really the case when people are being interviewed for the kind of technical and specialist roles we have in the construction industry. Surely we as recruiters and hiring managers are more concerned with finding out about a candidate’s level of expertise and experience?
I investigated further and like me, you may be surprised to hear that 33% of hiring managers report that they can tell if they will hire a candidate or not within 90 seconds.
The obvious question here is, what exactly are these managers basing this snap decision on
and how valid is this?
The answer…non-verbal body language. Is it valid to base a decision so quickly on something like non-verbal body language? Yes it is and in today’s article we’re going to examine how small changes can make a big difference to how you will be perceived by interviewers. This information is based on many decades of research by Albert Mehrabian of UCLA.
He is renowned for his research findings that showed when we communicate a message, the receivers feelings and attitudes are 7% determined by spoken communication while 38% relates to voice qualities such as pace, volume, tone and intonation. This means that 55% of how we communicates relates to our body language.
In summary, “It’s not what we say, it’s how we say it” that makes the difference between how well or not our message is received.
If like many people you take time to prepare your answers to questions such as;
a) Tell me about a situation where you had to handle a project delay?
b) Give me an example of what you regard as one of your biggest successes?
Few people devote even a fraction of that time to thinking about how they will deliver those answers using body language and non-verbal communication. As a result, nonverbal messages can often contradict what is said in words. When people send mixed messages, or their verbal messages don’t agree with their body language, their credibility can crumble because most smart interviewers will believe the nonverbal over the verbal.
If 93% of how you communicate your skills is non-verbal, you need to know how to make the most of your body language.
Here’s the top 6 body language areas that are proven to make a difference to how you are perceived.
1. Your Walk and Posture
I am sure you have heard the fact that we have 10 seconds to make a first impression. If this is the case, how you walk into a room to meet the interviewing site manager or Project Director makes a difference.
One expert in the field suggests you walk directly towards the person interviewing you with your body pointing in their direction, making sure you give and hold eye contact and occasionally glance away so it doesn’t look like you are staring them out. Make sure your shoulders are pulled back. I do worry about how many of our younger generation will suffer
from back problems in later life as they walk around with round shoulders so much!
2. Develop a Firm Handshake
Hiring manager’s report that more than a quarter of candidates have weak handshakes. This is incredibly easy to correct and will transform your first impression. Meet with some friends a few days before your interview and ask them to rate your handshake. You may feel a bit silly, but it will pay off.
3. Sit Upright
If you’re a natural sloucher, this is definitely one to pay attention to. Think about how you sit in the chair. It’s recommended that you sit back in the chair so that your back is touching and leaning against the chair. This is an automatic signal of assurance and confidence.
4. Use hand gestures when talking
It’s natural to be a bit nervous in an interview, what’s important is knowing how to best manage them. When people are really nervous, they tend to want to hide their hands because they show anxiety. However hiding hands can be misinterpreted as distrustful behaviour. So, have your hands in the open, with your palms up as research suggests that this signals honesty and engagement.
5. Make Eye Contact
When you’re nervous it can be tempting to look at the walls, the ceiling, the floor — anywhere but the interviewers’ faces! However, an averted gaze sends a series of bad messages. It indicates lack of confidence, weakens your communication and can even suggest dishonesty. What’s more, it limits your ability to read the responses of the panel, either positive or negative. 67% of people fail to make eye contact in interviews, so simply maintaining a steady gaze will set you apart.
6. Demonstrate you are listening
Aside from keeping eye and face contact, nodding your head while listening is an additional way to show attentiveness as is a smile. You may even say, “Mm” or another verbal que that
lets the interviewer know you are enjoying and understanding the conversation.
If you are looking for interview advice or support to find your next role, then contact the team on 0203 640 8989