Can your body language help you get a job?

17 October 2013

Written by: Julia Szuflak

Getting a job is becoming increasingly competitive so you need to find something that will make you stand out.

One solution is using your body language to your advantage. Body language, or non-verbal communication, is often overlooked and underestimated.

We use body language everyday without realising it. We communicate through facial expressions, eye movements and body gestures, as well as outfits or accessories.

Psychologist, Amy Cuddy, has completed extensive research on body language and she believes our body language governs how we think and feel about ourselves. This, in turn, can affect how we present ourselves in that all-important job interview.

If there’s not enough time to harness the power of positive non-verbal communication before your interview, don’t panic. The best thing about body language is you can fake it.

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Here’s a list of 10 tips and tricks to make the most of your body language when interviewing for a job.

1. Find out what your non-verbal language habit is

Do you remember the guy in high school who danced from one foot to another during an oral presentation? Or the girl who twisted her hair while talking?

Well, that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do in a job interview. Be aware of your habits and practice not doing them.

2. What you are wearing has an influence

Firstly, be yourself, and wear professional but comfortable clothes. Looking professional shows that you care about the interview. Also, if you are not at ease, the interviewer will notice.

Take care of the small details. Leave the bling at home so the recruiter can focus on you, not on your accessories.

Photo Credit: Abdulmajeed Al.mutawee || twitter.com/almutawee via Compfight cc

3. Prepare yourself

Before the interview, practice different poses in the mirror. Make yourself bigger, open your arms and smile. Believe it or not, you will feel more powerful and confident.

4. Your job interview starts BEFORE the interview

Some recruiters will start watching while you are waiting. Don’t play with your phone. Look at your environment, smile at people, talk to them and try to look comfortable.

5. The moment you enter the room is crucial

Be aware of how you enter the room. You only get one chance to make a good impression. Smile and walk straight to the person or people who are conducting the interview. You need to show that you are confident but try not to overdo it.

6. The hand-shake

The hand-shake is an important part of the job interview as it can reveal a lot about you. If it is limp, it may show that you are not confident or that you don’t believe in yourself. If it is too strong, it may come across as overly aggressive. Try to find a compromise between the two.

7. Be careful of the way you sit

When you’re invited to sit down, sit upright in the chair but try not to be stiff. Once the interview has begun, don’t cross your arms. This can be interpreted as a defensive posture. Be careful not to play with your hands or fidget. You don’t have to be a statue, but don’t change your position every minute either.

8. Show that you are present

Be dynamic, enthusiastic, passionate and confident. If you have great ideas but act like you don’t really believe in them, people won’t believe in them either. Believe in yourself, know your potential, and don’t be afraid to show it.

9. Be careful when you speak

Don’t speak too fast or too slow and don’t mumble or shout. You need to find a good tone and keep it. If you are struggling to say something, calm down, breathe, and try again.

10. Don’t lie

Lies are easily detected through non-verbal communication, so be honest.

These tips may not guarantee you a job but they will help. Your body language is one of the most powerful tools you have in your possession, so use it to your advantage.

Julia SzuflakTHUMBJulia Szuflak is a third-year Bachelor of Media student at La Trobe University. You can follow her on Twitter: @JuliaSzuflak.