In the United States, eye contact is primary. I’m not telling you to have piercing eyes or that sort of smile that says, “I’m crazy.” We like to interact with people who make eye contact. We believe people who can look us straight in the eyes are being honest with us (even though we also know the best liars can do just that).
When an interviewer asks a difficult question or one that you judge to be difficult, pause for a second, and break eye contact. Just look to the side for a moment, and then return to the eyes.
As for body language, I encourage people to sit in the chair comfortably, hands on the armrest, if there is one, with one leg crossed. Then, when you need to move, the alternative position is to cross the other leg. Don’t sit forward like an obedient lapdog. Sit back comfortably in the chair.
Also, if you can, it’s okay to speak with your hands, but never block your face. If you speak with your hands, you can bring your hands to the midpoint of the chin and use them for emphasis. For people who may be a little nervous or anxious, using their hands allow them to discharge some excess energy.
You may have heard about mirroring and matching. I recommend these tactics, but it depends on the person. Some people are very skillful at interviewing, and adding that one extra detail is a good edge for them. For the person who is not masterful, who is not quite comfortable for the interview, I discourage trying to mirror. It’s just too much to think about.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2008, 2014, 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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