Jr. Hedge Fund Analyst, New York, NY
VP for Client and Project Management, Washington, DC
Research Analyst, Singapore, Singapore
Business Development and Marketing Manager, Nationwide
Financial Analyst Intern, Los Angeles, CA
You’ve heard that body language is extremely important in an interview, as it affects how interviewers relate to you and what assumptions they make. It’s stressful enough that you have to focus hard on giving polished answers to questions hiring managers fire at you, so paying attention to the positioning of your hands or the way you sit in your chair can feel overwhelming. That’s why you should work on perfecting these small moves now, so that they come more naturally when you’re in the hot seat!
From the moment you shake hands with an interviewer, what you do with your hands is extremely important. You don’t want to sit there with your hands underneath the table – during the interview, the person you are speaking with should always see them. It’s also important to make an effort to gesture. Even folding your hands nicely for the duration of the interview can seem too passive. Instead, use small hand gestures to compliment the answers you give. Conversely, you want to avoid gesturing wildly, as you can come across as erratic and will distract your interviewer. Try to keep your motions within the frame of your body.
Body language includes eye contact, and you should do your best to maintain that throughout the interview. Don’t lock in on your interviewer, as you may come across as a bit too earnest or even intimidating, but try to look your interviewer in the eye for the majority of the conversation. Some experts tell you to look at a person’s nose in order to maintain eye contact; if you do this, make sure that you’re really gazing at someone in a way that resembles eye contact instead of zoning out. Also be sure not to focus on the interviewer’s lips, as this can seem sexual. Another important point is that you should avoid touching your face. It looks strange, and some people believe that touching your face while speaking indicates that you are lying.
The way you sit in your chair at an interview is extremely important. By no means should you ever slouch, as it looks unprofessional and conveys that you aren’t very interested. On the flip side, sitting up so straight that you appear stiff is a bad idea too. You want to sit up straight in your chair, but you also want to appear natural and not nervous or uptight. Also try to lean forward a little bit in your chair – again, without slouching – to demonstrate involvement. When you lean back, you convey that you aren’t very interested or engaged in the conversation.
Body language is extremely important in an interview and completes the overall impression you make on an interviewer. Unfortunately, during the actual interview people are often too nervous to keep their body language in check, and tend to fall into bad habits. That’s why it’s important to take charge now and practice these things, so that when the big day comes, it will all seem like second nature!
The Doostang Team