Like it or not, people will make sweeping judgments about you within 30 seconds. That’s right – in just 30 seconds someone can take an immediate like or dislike to you. This can be based on your posture, dress, grooming, facial expression or your handshake. How you stand, smile, pose or speak will set the scene for how the rest of the interview will go.
A graduate recruiter I was talking to recently told me he wishes that the students would smile more in their interviews. He could understand that they might be nervous, but it’s really hard to judge someone’s enthusiasm for the role if they can’t get a smile out of them.
Employers look for confident people and body language can communication your level of confidence. Actions like a firm (but not bone-crushing!) handshake, sitting up straight, keeping your head high and shoulders square, maintaining eye contact, smiling and nodding occasionally to indicate that you are listening – these actions help to convey a good level of confidence. For ‘9 ways to look more confident’ see: http://www.women24.com/CareersAndMoney/AtWork/9-ways-to-display-confident-body-language-20130920
If you’ve never heard Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk “Your Bod Language Shapes Who You Are”, I highly recommend that you go and listen to it. This is a great TED Talk! Amy is a social psychologist who shows how ‘power posing’ – standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident – can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. Feeling powerful and confident is a process and something that can be learned. “Fake it until you become it” is the process she believes we are all capable of doing: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html
Other useful links on body language and nonverbal behaviours include: