The Importance Of Body Language In An Interview Situation

Body language speaks volumes, and you may unwittingly be projecting an image of yourself that doesn’t truly reflect who you are through your movements, posture and gestures. An awareness of what constitutes good body language is crucial in an interview setting, and could help you land your dream role.

Albert Mehrabian, currently Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA

Research conducted by Albert Mehrabian, currently Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA, revealed that when people meet for the first time, body language is the most important aspect and what you say is the least important. Here is Kennedy Pearce’s roundup of the body language that will define you as a go-getter rather than a retiring wallflower.

Make a powerful entrance

When you enter an interview room ensure that you give the members of the interview panel a firm handshake to demonstrate your confidence, rather than a limp handshake that some may view as a sign of weakness. Wait to be invited to sit down and when you do, sitting up straight will show that you are taking the interview seriously. Keeping your arms and legs uncrossed in what is known as an ‘open’ posture usually suggests a more relaxed, open attitude, helping interviewers to warm to you.

Interact with the interviewers

Maintaining good eye contact with all members of the interview panel is crucial, as a lack of eye contact is said to reveal that someone is untrustworthy. In order to achieve this you may have to scan the room periodically, which can seem a little unnatural at first.

Postural echo, where you mirror the interviewer’s posture, is also said to demonstrate empathy and agreement, as is nodding your head. However, you need to ensure that this is done very subtly, as interviewers may not be impressed that you are tracking their every move.

Speak with authority

Prof Mehrabian’s study also revealed that how a person sounds is the second-most important aspect in a first meeting, after body language. Speaking clearly, calmly and at a steady pace is said to suggest authority. In contrast an excitable, high-pitched voice is associated with a nervous personality.

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