Body Language and Appearance

Both can quickly become friend or foe for interview day

You’ve gone over your talking points for the interview, tediously practicing the Q&A process with yourself in the mirror or, if you’re lucky, with a friend or loved one who is as anxious for you to get the job as you are. You’ve polished your resume one more time, making sure to cross your “t”s and dot your “i”s. You know your qualifications and you’re prepared to sell yourself to the employer. Finally, you’ve given yourself the “You can do it!!!!” speech so many times that it’s hard to believe that you might have not had it. You’re ready.

While you may have thought about what you’re going to wear and you’ve got the perfect outfit, make sure it’s appropriate. Depending on the job, a sleeveless blouse or opened-toe shoes might be seen as unprofessional. Keep the jewelry in check and try not to wear large statement pieces that take away from your personality. And guys, the same goes for a pair of khakis and a polo. To play it safe, wear something a step up from what you would wear to work every day. A classic blazer and A-line skirt is professional. Guys, try a classic suit, with or without the jacket depending on the job.

Now for body language. Your body language can speak volumes even while you’re quietly listening to the interviewer’s question. Here are a few tips to keep your body language professional during the interview:

  • Sit up and sit straight

○      Your posture is an important signal

  • Play copy-cat

○      Let the interviewer set the pace and tone for the interview and reciprocate by sharing his level of enthusiasm, tone and overall posture.

○      Speak at the same pace as your interviewer

■      According to Psychology Today, people respond better if you speak at their pace. Also try mimicking their movements, such as head nods and hand gestures, without being too obvious or awkward.

  • Gain eye contact

○      Eye contact is important in a conversation and shows that you’re truly listening and in touch with the interviewer.

  • Relax without slumping over in your chair

○      Being in a relaxed sitting position will help you truly relax during the interview while showing the interviewer that you are comfortable with the process

  • Keep a positive facial expression

○      Smile when appropriate and refrain from furrowing your brow, frowning or otherwise giving off a facial expression that may be misconstrued as disinterest or confusion

Both your appearance and body language during the interview can make or break the interviewer’s impression of you. After all, first impressions are among the most important and, while the job market has still failed to completely rebound, the first impression may be your only shot.

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