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Body Language Speaks Louder than Words: Using Non-Verbal Cues in interviews

Career counselors and job search advisors constantly remind candidates that when it comes to acing an interview, body language counts. But most of this advice comes in the form of “Don’ts”, as in, don’t slouch, don’t avoid eye contact, don’t fidget, don’t mumble, etc, etc, etc.

These are all valid and crucial tips, but for every Don’t, there’s a corresponding “Do” that can impress employers and win them over, not just ward off disaster. Here are a few ways to stay on top of your game and present your best self without even saying a word.

1. Treat this like a social encounter.

Because it is. Both you and your interviewer may be playing your own game from your own side of the table, but at the end of the day, this is just a friendly conversation between two adults who are looking for reasons to like and respect each other. Listen and show interest in everything she has to say. Ask polite and intelligent questions. Lean forward.

2. Take over your chair.

For the duration of this entire interview, you own the chair you’re sitting in. It’s yours, so sprawl out. Take over as much real estate as you can without going to exaggerated extremes. Your arms should rest at your sides on the arm rests, if they exist. If the chair has no arm rests, find a way to keep your arms relaxed and expansive. Rest your elbows on the desk or table in front of you. Use your hands to emphasize your points and keep your gestures large and confident.

3. Stay animated.

Everyone likes a conversational companion who’s awake, alive, and dialed in. It doesn’t matter what your feelings may be at any given moment—just make sure you’re expressing them with your face and voice. Hiding your feelings and flattening your affect won’t get you very far. Be easy to read and you’ll have an easier time establishing a connection.

4. Pause before you speak.

When you’re asked a question that requires consideration, wait for two full seconds before you answer. This may seem like a long time, but it actually isn’t. In your interviewer’s ears, this will come off as a short, thoughtful pause.

For more on how to use your non-verbal gestures to send the right message during your interview, reach out to the staffing experts at Cordia.