It’s an interesting thing, but if your verbal language doesn’t match your body language you aren’t likely to be chosen to fill that position. Here are some pointers to ensure that you don’t inadvertently torpedo your interview.
For starters, be aware that from the minute you walk into that conference room, you are already being evaluated—if only subconsciously. For this reason, you need to exude confidence and capability—even if you don’t feel that way! Avoiding the appearance of being frenetic is crucial. Organize everything in your briefcase the evening before your interview so you don’t have to go pawing thru your paperwork in front of your interviewer.
Inevitably, there will be a hopefully short wait before you are called in. During that time, pay attention to your posture: sit up straight, smile at people who pass by, and assume an ‘approachable’ stance. You will want to appear casual—but not too casual. For example, don’t take off your jacket or settle in with a novel. Instead, take careful note of your surroundings and the office environment. Do you like what you see? Do people seem friendly? Remote? Indifferent?
Don’t bring your lap top or use your cell phone to pick up your messages. You are here for one reason and one reason alone, and that is to be interviewed for a job. And, since you’re on THEIR terrain, conduct yourself accordingly! It is important for your interviewer to perceive that you are in control. You can’t do that if you are fussing with electronic devices or sorting stacks of paper.
Once in the interview, sit up straight and be alert. If you feel you want to take notes, ASK first whether it’s ok to do so instead of just whipping out your note pad. (Remember, once again, you are on THEIR terrain—not yours—and politeness DOES count!
If you’re the type of person who punctuates your conversation with hand gestures, be sure to keep them at chest level: if you raise them any higher, it could appear to the interviewer that you are a frenetic person–and hence an undesirable one! (Body language again, folks!)
When the interview concludes, try to shake hands with everyone at the table. If not practical to do so, make some motion–like a tipping of an imaginary hat–so that each person in the room knows that you have acknowledged them. Before you leave the room, be sure you’re clear on the next step and express you interest in the position. (Even if it’s not the most scintillating position on the face of the planet, it is always best to express the desire to work for the company, as it may be the ONLY job offer you get!
Finally, collect as many as many business cards as possible so that you can send out your thank-you notes!