Body language is key to a successful job interview.

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A face-to-face conversation is less than 35% verbal, and more than 65% of communication occurs nonverbally. From your facial expressions to your movements, what you don’t say can often convey more than the spoken word – especially in a job interview. Whether in person or over video, body language is key to a successful interview.

  1. Pay attention to body posture – Whether in person or over video, slouching is a red flag and shows a lack of self-confidence and respect for interviewers. Make sure you’re sitting on the edge of your chair and leaning forward to show that you are genuinely interested in what’s being said.  Have the camera at eye level and position yourself so that you are visible from the waist up. The ability to see your facial expressions and hand gestures will contribute to creating a meaningful connection.
  2. Don’t fidget – Fidgeting nervously during an interview can be distracting—even over video. Refrain from fidgeting with your hands, twirling your hair, or bouncing your leg since even if your leg isn’t visible on camera, the rest of your body will be moving, and it will distract the interviewer. Avoid touching your face, rubbing your head or neck that makes the other person think you are bored or uninterested. And don’t be sneaking peeks at your phone! You wouldn’t do it in a face-to-face interview, so don’t do it during a video interview.
  3. Maintain eye contact – Don’t look at yourself but make an effort to look into the camera. You can practice by looking at the camera and pretending it’s a person or get into the habit of hiding your self-view during virtual meetings to make a connection with the interviewer. If you are face to face, the same rule applies. However, you don’t want to stare. An appropriate amount of eye contact shows good manners and makes you appear likable and appealing, and that you are interested and appreciative of the employer’s time
  4. Smile, but not too much – Generally, it is appropriate to smile at the beginning and end of a job interview. If you smile the whole time, it may make you seem less competent. It can be particularly detrimental in those fields perceived as more serious, such as reporting, managing, and data entry. Smiling is not as disadvantageous for applicants for positions seen as more social such as teaching or sales.
  5. Practice active listening – Active listening is important to successful interviewing—whether virtually or in person. Listen closely to your interviewer’s tone of voice and keep an eye on their facial expressions and body language. During the job interview, remind yourself to focus if your attention begins to drift. Nonverbal cues to show understanding, such as nodding, eye contact, and leaning forward, are important. Verbal affirmations such as “I see,” “I know,” or “I understand” show an active interest. Active listening also demonstrates concern for the interviewer and allows you to ask specific questions for clarification.

They say that it only takes seven seconds to make a first impression!  Practice using effective body language to send the right message. A few simple tweaks will go a long way toward increasing your chances of ultimately acing the job interview.

As you review your next steps in your job search, Job Skills has a menu of resources, programs, and information topics that focus on the current and changing world of work.  Attend Job Skills’ online workshop on August 31st “Body Language‘ from 2:00 – 3:00 pm.  Links and resources are updated with the most up-to-date information

If you haven’t connected with an Employment Consultant at Job Skills, NOW is the time to get that one-on-one support you can use as you move through the new way of working.  Call Job Skills toll-free at 1-866-592-6278 to connect to one of Job Skills’ experts.

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