View the below video from Estelle James, Director at Robert Half, to get some top tips on how to effectively present yourself in an interview.
The words coming out of your mouth are only half of the battle during a job interview, as your body language will also play a key role too, so it's vitally important that you get it right in order to boost your prospects.
A lot of our movements are subconscious and can often come from nerves. To cut them at the source, you need to feel as prepared as possible before you even get to the interview.
Nerves aren't the only things that can lead to less than positive body language, of course, so it's worth knowing what you should and shouldn't be doing when you find yourself in a job interview situation.
For some recruiters, the process can start as soon as you enter the building – how you behave when interacting with the receptionist and administrative staff can play a role too, as the interviewer may ask them for a second opinion on you as a person, even if they don't sit in on the interview itself. With this in mind, be polite and courteous to everyone you meet and appear keen and attentive even when you're waiting.
Once you are called in, the first impression is important – if the interviewer offers their hand to you, ensure that your handshake isn't too tight or too weak, and try to make sure that you maintain eye contact whilst you greet them.
The interviewer may also indulge in small talk about the weather or your journey in before you reach the interview location, so use it as an opportunity to showcase your interpersonal skills.
Throughout the interview, eye contact should be maintained as much as possible, with glances towards the mouth or hands acceptable if you want to avoid glaring and if you want to take in a gesture that they're making.
Bear in mind that the interviewer will be looking at your face too, so you should try to minimise any tense facial expressions. Doing so will help you appear calm in a pressure situation, which would be advantageous regardless of the job you are hoping to secure.
You need to sit comfortably, but make sure you don't slouch and try not to fidget in your seat – it can make you look nervous. If in doubt, try to mirror any positive body language that your interviewer makes – such as a smile or chuckle – although don't make it appear too forced.
Nodding when the interviewer is asking questions can make you look knowledgeable about where you think the query is leading, but don't do it too much as it could make you look impatient for them to finish talking and ensure that you don't talk over them before they finish speaking.
When you do respond, make sure that you do so with enthusiasm in your voice – this should come naturally if the role is one that you really want. Sitting up even more and using your hands to make relevant gestures if necessary, but don't make your actions look unnatural.
When you're not making movements with your hands, keep them on your lap or on the table during your interview – perhaps holding any notes that you have taken in with you. Often people subconsciously fidget, whether it’s tapping fingers or touching hair or jewellery. Avoid folding your arms though -- this gives out defensive messages which may lead the interviewer to think that you have something to hide.
If you're concerned that you may have some habits that may be less than desirable in an interview situation, conduct a mock one with a friend and ask them to feedback on your body language so you know exactly where you need to improve. You can also practice by yourself by practicing your smile into a mirror, webcam or video camera so that it looks warmer and more natural.