Let Your Body Language Do The Talking

We all know that body language is important – but how important?
The gradsingapore Team
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The way you stand, sit, walk, shake people's hand, and even smile, makes a difference in the way people perceive you, especially during a first impression.

But how much of a difference?

So here's a brief guide on how you can make body language work for you during an interview or an assessment centre! 

Eyes

  • Go for an open, confident gaze and look at your interviewer
  • Maintain decent level of eye contact throughout the interview, but especially at the start.
  • Please don’t wink.
  • Also, please don’t flutter your eyelashes.
  • In case of a panel interview, make sure to alternate eye contact with all of your interviewers to include them in the conversation, but always look back to the person whom you’re talking to after that. 

Mouth

  • Smiling is friendly, smiling is pleasant. But don’t overdo it, though, or you might come across as being phony.
  • Excessive lip-licking is a no-no.
  • Pursing, twisting, and biting your lips aren’t encouraged either as each may suggest disapproval, disagreement, and nerves.
  • Avoid breathing from your mouth – it dries your lips very quickly – and might also cause you to take awkward pauses while speaking.
  • Always have some breath mints available to keep your breath fresh – in case you had some garlic or onions before your interview.

Hands

  • Keep your handshakes firm and dry instead of a flabby handshake, a “dead fish”, or a bone-crusher.
  • No fistbumps or slapping handshakes.
  • Don’t pop or crack your knuckles.
  • Tapping and interlocking your fingers are often interpreted as signs of anxiety too, so keep away from doing that.
  • Gesture appropriately to emphasise your answers: Right hand for giving out information when talking; left hand for when you want to receive information. Gesture twice, or use decisive, firm hand movements to highlight a particularly powerful point – but nothing excessive.

Body confidence

  • Before you walk in, take two minutes to stand or sit in a high-power pose: a position where your body language is open and relaxed.
  • Don’t be afraid to change positions throughout the interview, but avoid excessive fidgeting. Moving about in the chair once in a while helps with stage fright.  
  • Sit up straight to give the recruiters a more confident impression of yourself. Here’s a trick: Imagine yourself as a flower reaching for the sun, and slowly straighten up yourself.
  • Mirror or match your interviewer’s posture from time to time to create solidarity between you.
  • Square your shoulders and raise your head to give a more self-assured and reliable quality, instead of slumping or hiking your shoulders.

OTHER DO’S AND DON’TS

DO

  • Be aware of professional distance and personal bubbles. Not everyone are comfortable standing close to each other, so make sure to never crowd into someone’s space.
  • Lean forward a little to show interest in what your interviewers are saying.
  • Make sure that your tone of voice matches your intentions. No point saying that you’re enthusiastic about something when you sound utterly bored.
  • Nod your head to indicate understanding, and attempt to have a focused, interested expression on your face when listening to interviewers or pondering answers to questions. 

DON'T

  • Cross your arms. It can be taken as a sign of being excessively defensive, or that you aren't really that interested in the job.
  • Touch your face, neck, or hair excessively. People who rub their nose too much are seen as untrustworthy; neck as bored or uncertain; and hair as flirtatious.
  • Do excessive motions such as pushing your spectacles up the bridge of your nose, or clicking your pen.
  • Do anything in the "DO" list to excess. You may end up either looking fake... or slightly unhinged.