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Job Interview Tips: Effects of Body Language

written by: Brenda Barrett•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 4/17/2012

Non-verbal communication speaks loudly about you. Here are job interview tips on the effects of body language and how the right or wrong body language can affect your chances of getting a job.

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    The employment interview provides an opportunity for you and an employer to meet, exchange information and evaluate what e
    ach has to offer the other. In this process, body language and non-verbal expressions play a key role in determining the success or the failure of the outcome of the interview. Remember this job interview tip - body language matters from the moment you walk through the door. Impressions formed during the first twenty seconds of an interview may determine whether you’re hired. So your body language must reflect your positivity and confidence at the first “hello" and introductory hand shake with the interviewer. Here are some tips that will help you to monitor your body language so that you convey the best possible front to any interviewer.

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    1. Avoid Nervous Gestures

    Jittery, nervous gestures may come naturally because you are in an unfamiliar environment or you are just plain nervous about your prospects for the job. These gestures can be quite embarrassing and come in the form of fumbling, jerking, twitching, spontaneous burst of laughter even when something is not funny, grimacing or mumbling. Try to recognize which gestures you are more partial to, ask a dispassionate observer to tell you what your general nervous gestures are and then practice to curb them. The fact is clumsy actions or inappropriate actions can indicate that you are somewhat awkward or incompetent. You want to stand out for your confidence and good qualities not for any weaknesses.

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    2. Maintain Eye Contact

    It is quite easy to avoid looking at an interviewer directly because of nervousness or to go to the other extreme and adapt a vacuous expression or a fixed blank stare. Either extreme will not be viewed as a positive in your favor. The best solution to this is to relax and remember that an employer would not meet with you if he or she was not interested in hiring you, maintain eye contact and portray a positive attitude.

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    3. Watch Your Speaking Style

    One of the major indicators to your state of mind is your voice. Interviewers will know that you lack confidence or that you are shy or aggressive by the modulation of your voice. Avoid speaking too loudly; softly or quickly also avoid hesitant speech and speech disfluencies like ‘ahm’, ‘erm’. Speak at a well modulated pitch; if you have a problem with your speech, practice your pitch and pace by using a voice recorder and listening to it till you get it right.

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    4. Avoid Slangs or Clichés

    Watch for the use of slangs or clichés phrases excessively, if you know that you practice using slangs try to retrain your speech before attending an interview. Interviewers will not find “yeah", “got it" or other slangs appropriate in a business environment. The use of slangs usually accompanies a casual, laid back attitude and laziness in thinking that most prospective employers will not find attractive.

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    5. Slumping, Slouching or Shrugs

    Body language is the first indicator of your state of mind, slumping or slouching conveys a defeatist attitude even if you are smiling. An upright posture is always a better option and gives the illusion of confidence even if you are quaking inside. Shrugs are a very lazy way to express oneself, reconsider any such non-verbal action to a verbal question whether in an interview or any other situation.

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    6. Facial Expression

    Criminal investigators use this tool mercilessly and so do interviewers, a tell-tale grimace or smirk is greater evidence than a glib well-rehearsed answer. Take a dispassionate assessment of your facial expressions and determine the sort of messages that you may convey with them. Be very mindful of your expressions in an interview, a calm pleasant expression is always better than a scowl.

    It is imperative that your body language during an interview convey a positive attitude to prospective employers that exudes confidence. Keep focused on the reason for the interview. It is a getting acquainted session.