We’ve all been there before. You’ve just been offered an interview with a fantastic company, the one you really wanted. Your recruiter has advised you on how to prepare and you’ve spent hours researching the company… but in those final minutes before the interview you still have butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms and can’t stop checking your watch every few seconds.
Regardless of your area of work, the stress before an interview can be overwhelming and could reduce the odds of you getting to the next round.
The good news? There’s a simple way to eliminate those pre-interview nerves in a few minutes using the power of positive body language.
In one of the most watched TED talks ever, social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” and body language tactics can significantly boost your confidence and decrease stress. Pretending you are confident, relaxed and happy can actually affect the levels of testosterone and cortisol in the brain which make you feel more empowered and composed.
As we all know, how confident you appear and feel inside can significantly impact your chances for success in an interview so here are some body language tactics to ensure interview success.
Before the Interview
Arrive for the interview 10 minutes early and ask the receptionist where the restroom is located. Take a few minutes in a private room (the restroom if needs be), while he or she lets the hiring manager know you’ve arrived.
Then do these 2 exercises:
1. (Fake) Smile for 30 seconds - it will make you feel happier, we promise!
2. Do “The Superwoman Pose” for 2-3 minutes. Amy Cuddy defines the power-pose as the “superwoman pose,” so just pretend you’re Beyoncé and you’ve got it right.
During the Interview
Now you’re happy and confident on the inside, let’s look at how to project that externally.
Think about your hands
Don't cross your hands or slouch, interlace your fingers with your thumbs points upwards or steeple your hands.
Point Your Feet Towards the Interviewer
Believe it or not, the most honest part of your body are your feet, not your eyes. This is because they’re the most reactive to your limbic brain. This is the part of your brain that reacts to subconscious thoughts and emotions and controls physiological functions, such as sweating or heavy breathing.
When we’re uncomfortable we turn our feet away from the person in front of us, so pointing your feet towards the interviewer will project confidence and openness.
Sit Up Straight and Lean In
When you sit up straight and open up your chest by pulling your shoulders back, it’s scientifically proven to boost your testosterone which in turns boosts your confidence.
So when your interviewer asks you a question, lean in. It shows you’re listening closely to the interviewer, you’re engaged in the conversation and are comfortable around him/her.
Mirror Your Interviewer
There are many ways to establish rapport and the Mirroring Technique is one of the best as it’s all about connecting. When mirroring goes well, your interviewer will find you trustworthy because, subconsciously, they find similarities that connect you both.
Negative Body Language to Avoid
Now we’ve covered body language tactics to convey, here are 5 things you shouldn’t do in an interview
Touching your face
Touching your face or neck is the adult equivalent of toddlers sucking their thumbs. When we want to try and feel more comfortable the limbic brain triggers pacifying behaviours.
Wiping your hands on your quads
This tells the interviewer you have sweaty hands and feel anxious. Just don’t do it.
Interlocking your ankles
Locking your feet after being asked a tough question can indicate discomfort or insecurity. It’s the limbic brains response to the “fight or flight” mode by putting you in an immobile position.
Crossing your arms
We subconsciously cross our arms when we are in an uncomfortable situation and can’t lean away or physically distance ourselves. The limbic brain is “blocking” individuals away from you. Unfortunately, it also signals to your interviewer that you’re feeling insecure and anxious when asked a tough question.
Pressing lips together
We press our lips together when our limbic brain tells us not to let anything in our body as a result of high stress levels. It’s a clear sign that someone is troubled or anxious.
Although these body language tactics will influence your interviewer’s perception of you, they should really be used to change your self-perception. Implementing these tactics will allow you to not only portray confidence on the outside, but feel more confident on the inside. Control your body, and you’ll have control over those negative emotions. Because, at the end of the day, it’s internal confidence and self-belief is what separates a good interview from a fantastic one. You might even enjoy it.
Written by Izzy Griffin-Smith
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