It’s no surprise that good communication skills are a requirement included in most job postings. We know that communication skills are extremely important, both professionally and personally, but verbal communication isn’t all you have to consider when applying for a job. Whether you are aware of it or not, your nonverbal communication- your body language, specifically- has an extreme impact on how others perceive you as well.
Getting ready for an interview requires a great deal of thought and preparation. The way you present yourself during an interview provides a first impression that will be used in determining whether or not you will be hired. Your responses to interview questions will, of course, have an impact on how successful you are, but so will your body language.
While you are likely to rehearse your responses to interview questions and spend a great deal of time going over what you plan to say, you might not give much, if any, thought to the body language that will accompany those responses. Body language tells a lot about you as well, and interviewers will use your body language to help determine whether you are confident, sincere in your responses, and trustworthy.
The nonverbal signals you send during an interview should support the verbal responses you are giving. When entering the interview, show your confidence with a firm handshake, good eye contact and a warm smile. During the interview, you may have all the correct answers to the questions you are asked, but your body language should support you, not work against you. For example, you want to appear relaxed, but just enough so that you aren’t looking either too stiff or too slouchy. Sitting stiffly makes you look nervous, and looking too relaxed may make you look lazy. Use your normal speaking voice, and make sure not to sound too timid or too loud and aggressive.
Your body language is something that typically comes naturally to you, so it can be difficult to change. Answers to interview questions can be memorized and practiced ahead of time, but body language comes through and will leave a lasting impression. Take notice of your typical nonverbal responses and determine whether you appear as confident as you want to be. Becoming aware of your body language will enable you to focus on improving anything that might be keeping you from getting the job.