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Body Talk: The right gestures during an interview

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The moment you walk into that room, you are instantly being judged! Whether you like it or not, everyone tries to decode the signals they get from your body language, both knowingly and unknowingly. Most of what you say is never heard. It is simply observed!

Nearly 90% of your communication is nonverbal. Really!!! The rest all boils down to how you move, sit and hold your body. Slouch and cross your arms and you look defensive and aloof. Sit up straight and lean a little forward and you look like you’re paying attention.

Your impeccable resume and cover letter has secured you a much sought after interview. Now it’s time to impress in person!

Walk in confidently, looking poised:

It’s important to look as professional as possible from the very onset. So approach your interviewer with an open stance, which signals amiability and honesty. Nothing spells self-confidence like a firm handshake. Come on too weak and you’ll appear meek, but come on too strong and you could be seen to be trying too hard. The handshake is often a litmus test at the beginning that helps employers decide if you are fit for the job or not. Above everything, remember to maintain eye contact – it immediately establishes a connection and conveys mutual understanding between the employer and you.

Maintain eye contact:

Smile and keep eye contact. It shows the interviewer you’re not intimidated and that you’re taking everything in. Employers rarely hire unhappy people. It’s ok to be restless, but a smile can go a long way. It can make you look more calm, relaxed and pleasant. Simply put, it can make you more likeable.

Watch your hands and arms:

Hand gestures play a significant role in communicating, helping you highlight or reinforce crucial points or words. They indicate that you are ready to give and receive information. Open palms demonstrate frankness and righteousness. But overdoing or forcing hand gestures can put you at risk of distracting your interviewer. You should use your hands to back your words, but not to overstress everything you say. Instead, try keeping your actions, measured, smooth and natural. You should keep your hands lightly on the armrests of the chair or fold them gently across your lap. Avoid waving them about excitedly while you talk. An open demeanour with uncrossed arms shows that you are friendly and approachable, and determines that you are comfortable and assured in yourself and your surroundings.

Avoid acting fidgety:

It’s ok to be nervous at an interview, but stop obsessing over how nervy you are! Nervousness can induce actions such as shaking your leg, twirling your hair or drumming your pencil on the table, all of which can irritate and distract the interviewer. Although they might be mere habits, but the message they convey to the interviewer is that you are panicky. And this is not something which an interviewer looks for in his future employee. So breathe, that you are almost there. Smile. You look good! And answer questions confidently and ask a few of your own. Stress reflects on your face and through out your whole body. It’s very hard to fake relaxation – you truly have to be calm.

A strong finale:
Wrapping up? Stand up, make eye contact, smile, and shake hands with every individual. Be courteous and thank people for their time. Exchange the required pleasantries and leave gently, chin up. If feasible, thank the person who welcomed you when you arrived or who ushered you into the meeting room. It’s not a strategy, just plain good manners.

Whether you get the job or not, you would want to end your interview with elegance and grace and communicate your intents with assurance and professionalism. With a bit of luck, your body language will be the icing on the cake. Your interviewer will recall you as a poised, confident, approachable, and honest aspirant – all the significant prerequisites that get you the job!

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