A four-part-guide to nailing body language in an interview

So, you’ve read our handy guides on how to answer questions properly, ask the best questions yourself, and generally impress your potential employers. The last piece of the puzzle, and one that lets lots of people down, is making sure their facial impressions and body language are giving off the same vibe that their words are. Here’s a little checklist to make sure that you’re doing all the right things.

Smile—But Not Too Much

Obviously you want to smile to begin with, creating an open and pleasant atmosphere with your employers, and you want to form some sort of bond over the course of the interview. However, studies have shown that when you’re talking about the serious stuff, it’s best to keep that smile locked away for a bit. When you’re talking business, strategy or experience, keep things straight-faced, and leave the smiles for the anecdotes and for the greetings and thank yous.

Shaking Hands—Slowly Does It

The handshake is well known to be a key part of any interview process. Too weak and you risk making things oily and awkward. Too strong and you crush hands like a vice. Keep things firm but polite, and you’re all set. One of the things less people know is that jumping up for a handshake gives off bad vibes and makes you seem nervous and underprepared. Make sure you’re anticipating it so that you can ease yourself slowly into the handshake, making you seem assertive and in control.

Posture—Confidence is Key

Obviously slouching is a horrible way to sit in an interview, and no one expects that, but what is key is making sure your pose screams confidence at your potential employers. Sit with your hands in your lap or laid casually by your side, and don’t fidget or bounce. Casual confidence, as well as a movement to a “power posture” like sitting forward at an opportune moment, can be the difference between a good interview and a great one.

Talking Speed—Find the Balance

People tend to talk too fast in most cases, especially when they think they have a lot to say, but talking too slowly can be just as bad, because it makes you appear anxious and as if you’re making the most of every word in case you mess something up. This is not the kind of behaviour that screams “assertive and confident employee coming through” at those interviewing you, which is sort of what you’re aiming for. Find a good speed, where you can be understood while showing you know what you’re talking about, and you’re good to go.