Body language in interviews
So you’re in the interview for your dream job as a software architect, and you don’t want to ruin your chances by giving off negative vibes with your body language. Here are the dos and don’ts of how to act in an interview:
• Be ready. This doesn’t just mean have all the information, it means make sure your tie is straight and your hair in place before you go through the door, so you’re not adjusting yourself as you walk into the recruiter’s office. First impressions can be make or break, so place top priority to the opening seconds.
• When seated, sit up straight and lean slightly forward. This shows engagement and interest in the interview. Leaning back and slouching shows the opposite.
• Have an interested expression. If you have a solemn look on your face during the interview you’ll be doing yourself a disservice, so remain engaged, nod when appropriate and make positive gestures.
• If you are being interviewed by more than one person, ensure you engage all of them with your answers. Do not ignore any of them, although it is prudent to have eye contact primarily with the person who asked you the question you are responding to.
• Respect personal space. Don’t get too close to the interviewer; it could demonstrate you have a social awkwardness, and will make the interviewer uncomfortable around you.
• Touch your nose. It indicates that you are being dishonest, and, if nothing else, isn’t a great sign of maturity and professionalism.
• Rub your neck. Even if you have nervous perspiration, rubbing will make you look nervous and disinterested, and you need to appear alert, engaged and interested in the position and the interview.
• Drum your fingers or shake your leg. These actions are not only distracting to the interviewer, they show that you are uncomfortable. An interviewer will want to see that you are a strong person who can handle most situations, so ensure you keep your feet on the floor and your hands on the arm of the chair or in your lap.
• Cross your arms. It’s not just your hands and feet you need to watch, but your arms too. Folding them is a sign of closing yourself off and not being interested in what is being said or proposed to you, and it also shows you as being unfriendly and defensive.
• Make jokes. Everyone likes humour, but there are some places where it isn’t appropriate. There is nothing wrong with laughing at something funny in an interview, or making a relevant, non-offensive quip at an opportune moment, but don’t try to break the ice with a joke or think you’ll give yourself an edge over other applicants by making the boss laugh. Most likely you’ll just cause an awkward silence.