Sometimes, getting in the door (literary) is the hardest part of your career goals. Interviews can feel like you are entering the lottery, especially when most applicants have at least a few degrees. However, Dr Louise Mahler, a body language expert, says that interviewees who come out on top often use a trick we don’t even know about – manipulating our body language to their advantage. Albert Mehrabian which examined the power of body language, concluded that 93% of people receive us through non-verbal communication and only 7 percent of what we actually say.
These eight body language tricks will help you get the job you want if your body language is not perfect.
1. Don’t incline your head backwards
Mahler says that tilting your head forward or backward indicates one of two things. “Nodding your head forwards conveys flexibility of the mind. But any tilt backwards can be a problem.” Non-verbally, however, any indication that you give to others is always that they are tilting backwards is arrogance.
2. Maintain your… feet
It’s not only for cowboys or potential lovers trying to impress, but it can also help you score serious points in a job interview. “Certainly, feet together is a sign that you are a pushover. When you’re a pushover in the literal sense, it is also figuratively. So you need to be balanced,” Mahler explained.
However, too wide sends a message that the body is displaying genital parts. This is not a good idea. The feet should be shoulder-distance apart to maintain a balanced position. Place one toe on the floor and then turn your heel to the opposite foot. Your foot should be about the right length.
3. Give a firm handshake
Your career advisor was correct when she stated that a firm handshake is essential for being taken seriously in business. There are many types of firmness that can contribute to this effectiveness. “Firmity is good. But it is all about where firmness comes from. Many people believe that firmness comes from the ‘grip. It is not.” Mahler says that a handshake, like a sword thrust is firm in the strength of the thrust. “Don’t swing your arm out. This is too aggressive and powerful.”
4. Point your feet at the person you are talking to
Mahler says, “If your feet face away, it might indicate that you want to run.” You don’t need to get too technical about it. You don’t want them to turn away. If you are in a large group, your feet should be parallel. To appear confident, engaged, and as keen as beans, pay close attention to your feet.
5. Avoid ‘steeping’ your fingers
It can be beneficial or detrimental to rest your fingertips together in a way that is similar to a steeple at a church. Steeping fingers can be used as a prayer or submissive position. It may be useful or useless at certain stages. Mahler advises that this hand position is not recommended for listening or rest. In a job interview, nobody wants to seem passive or insecure. Save this gesture for the time you are not actually applying for the job.
6. Mirroring is a good idea.
Mirroring body language can help you bond with your partner and build understanding. It is also a useful tool for building trust. “Communication can be likened to driving a car. There are many gears. A neutral approach is the first until you are able to read what is happening. Mirroring is the second gear. Mirroring the body posture and extremities. It is a good idea to mirror the movements of the head and legs. Next, you can mimic the breathing pattern as well as the rhythm and vocal pitch.” Mahler says mirroring is essential to make people feel at ease.
You can change your position to test comfort. You can try crossing a leg to see if they follow you. If they are following you, then you are leading. When you have taken control, then you can go on.
7. While you wait, read a newspaper
While it’s important to communicate your body language clearly while being interviewed, it’s equally important to be present in the waiting area. You will appear smaller, less confident and submissive if you are hunched over Facebook. Grab a newspaper or magazine from the waiting room table to flip through. You will feel more relaxed and comfortable when the interviewer approaches you.
8. Good posture is the key
A good posture can help you appear calm and confident. Stand with your stomach in, chest up, shoulders back and head upward. Even if you are feeling nerves, this shows that you are poised and ready for anything your interviewer might throw at you.