A communications expert shares her best advice for winning over potential employers
The age old saying ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ rings especially true when it comes to job interviews. There’s a reason these cliches exist – people make up their minds about a person within the first 30 seconds of meeting them, so knowing a few do’s and don’ts could put you ahead in the hiring game. Getting hired can be a long process regardless of how padded your resume is, so no matter what kind of job you’re searching for, positive nonverbal communication is key. Communications expert Elissa Lansdell stopped by The Goods to give her advice on how to put your best foot forward during a job interview.
Walk in strong
Confidence is key. Look as professional as possible from the get-go and you could impress the interviewers more than you thought. You’ll be judged as soon as you enter the building, so be courteous to everyone you meet, wear your power suit and do your best to project confidence (even if you’re nervous). Your body language needs to convey that you’re always on. And by that, Elissa doesn’t mean be fake. She means your potential employer will want to know that you’re being your authentic self. Your body language needs to convey that you’re confident, that you stand behind what you say and that you’re open to what your employers have to say. They’ll want to know how you handle stressful situations too, so the more you prepare and keep your body language in mind, the less likely you’ll be to crack under pressure.
A firm handshake is sure to impress. Take the Goldilocks approach – not too hard, and not to weak; deliver a firm handshake. This goes back to the previous point of conveying confidence. You want to give the impression that you’re confident, but that you’re open to what they have to say. This is something you can definitely practice at home. Finally, to avoid awkward situations, always remember to let go.
Maintain eye contact
Eye contact can be difficult if you’re super nervous. But it helps to convey that you’re not too intimidated and that you’re paying attention. Think about how you act in a typical conversation with a friend. As Elissa puts it, you don’t sit and stare at one another or you’d make things very awkward. Instead, you look at that person, you’re nodding and listening and making eye contact, and then you look away to get a thought and you look back. Look at the person you’re talking to long enough to let your idea land. This will help you know if you’re on the same page, or if your ideas are being conveyed.
Watch your hands
Most people have trouble with this one because they often aren’t sure what to do with nervous hands. Keep your body language open. Closed-off body language could even subconsciously convey to the interviewer that you’re lying or are untrustworthy. Instead, try keeping your hands open to keep your body language strong, open and positive.
This one is important to a certain degree. You can quickly get on good terms with your interviewer by matching their positive body language. It’s all about keeping it natural – you don’t need to take a sip of your water if the interviewer does the same. Don’t play the mirror game. Instead, mirror a nod or a subtle shift in posture to keep you both on the same page and help build a good rapport. And humans are naturally inclined to mirror, so if you’re focused and playing attention to what’s being said, you’ll automatically tend to subtly copy their behaviour.
Stick the landing
Yes, first impressions are important, and the interviewer’s first image of you is super crucial. But, a graceful goodbye will always help to impress and leave a lasting impression. Leave the interview with a cheery goodbye, be sure to thank them for their time, and make sure you maintain your good posture until you’re out of eyesight.