In case no one has told you, first impressions are important. And by extension, body language is equally important. Based on your body language, your interviewer can tell how much you want the job or if you’re there just because the person at the recruitment firm told you to “show face”.
So how do you exude confidence during the job interview without appearing too aggressive or like a know-it-all? We asked Alexandra Lamb, co-founder of Lanterne Rouge, the company behind career management platform Boldly, on how you should sit and behave at a job interview.
How should I sit?
Sit like yourself! Don’t try to be someone else—it will show. Having said that, some general rules apply: good posture, a composed and engaged demeanour and confident eye contact go a long way. (Should I cross my legs?) This is completely up to you. Do what feels natural.
Is it better to gesture or clasp your hands?
Both—again, be yourself! Be conscious of your hands, but not so conscious that you look rehearsed. Generally, while you’re not speaking they should be clasped or taking brief and simple notes. While you’re speaking, you can use your hands and facial expressions to punctuate points, but be careful not to overuse them, which can become distracting. If you’re not sure, do a role-play with a friend, or take a video-selfie to review how you come across: confident, listening actively and responsive to the tone of the interviewer.
How do you look confident but not stiff?
A lot of it is in the shoulders and eyes. Make sure your shoulders are square and back, shoulder blades dropped, and that your neck feels long and relaxed. Practise this as a part of everyday life, not just interviews! A lot of research is in the works demonstrating the psycho-somatic response—pose like a confident person, and you’ll feel like one! Take some time in a private space before any interview to relax your shoulders, and make a big shape with your body for three minutes or more. Make sure you’re smiling while you do this, and thinking positive thoughts such as “I am prepared for this meeting.” If you feel good, you’ll look good.
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