Positive Body Language for Interviews

You have made it, at long last you got the interview! You are one step closer to getting the job you want, all you have to do is succeed at the interview itself - easier said than done though, right? 

While what you say at an interview is important, how you say it is equally important. Hiring managers want to meet confident applicants who they feel they can trust, who give a great first impression even before they start speaking. Using positive body language can significantly increase your chances of succeeding in an interview, so we have gathered the most essential DOs you should keep in mind. While currently most interviews are held online because of the on-going pandemic, you have time to practice these moves with friends and family!

Positive Body Language DOs

  • Walking in: You give your first impression not when you introduce yourself, but when you walk into a room. Hold your head high, shoulders straight, and stride in with the confidence of an accomplished professional. If you move too quickly, they might think you are nervous. If you are too casual, you may come off as someone who doesn’t really care. Aim for something in between!
  • Handshake: As you introduce yourself to the interviewer(s), shake their hand firmly while keeping steady eye contact. Just like with the walk, a soft handshake will show a lack of confidence. A too-firm grip will present you as someone who wants to be dominant, so it’s best to shake someone’s hand firmly but without crushing their hand. 
  • Expressing enthusiasm: Smiling and nodding where appropriate will show that you are engaged and interested, and in general will paint the picture of a kinder, more likable applicant.
  • Mirroring: At a few times during the interview it can be a good idea to mirror the positive body language of your interviewer(s). Doing so will help to establish common grounds on a more subconscious level. You can find a detailed guide on mirroring body language over here.
  • Open hands: Keeping your palms facing up in your lap is a sign of openness and honesty. You can also subtly use your hands to emphasize points you discuss. However, try to avoid folding your arms in front of you - this shows unfriendliness and a lack of willingness to talk.
  • Before leaving: The interview is really only over once you have left the room. Before finishing up, do not forget to: express that you enjoyed the interview, aim for a steady handshake like you did at the beginning, and walk out confidently no matter how the interview went. 

The Power of the Hero Pose

You may have noticed that most positive body language DOs rely on confidence. Before interviews, we tend to feel rather nervous and may start doubting ourselves, but there is a bulletproof way of finding more courage right before the interview: the Hero Pose! 

Try this: Set your timer to 2 minutes and strike a power pose! To do this, stand up straight and put your hands on your hips like a superhero! We will wait...

The hero pose can help you feel more confident

Are you finished? Well, according to Amy Curry, social psychologist at Harvard Business School, you should feel more empowered and confident after holding this pose. The hormone produced from holding this pose has altered your body and started reducing stress hormones. It’s a simple but very effective piece of magic you can apply before walking into any interview! If you do it in front of a mirror, it will work even better!

Practice

Like everything else, using the right body language also needs to be practiced. Don’t be shy to ask a friend or your partner to practice with you. Start talking to each other as if you were at an interview, then give feedback on each other’s positive and negative body language habits and improve together!

If you find it difficult to pick up positive body language, or if in general the Dutch professional culture is unfamiliar to you, Empower Amsterdam is here to help! We offer free career coaching for individuals looking for support during their job search. Feel free to reach out to us so we can connect you to one of our coaches who can guide you along your journey! We also organize regular events, where you can learn about building confidence and a lot more to help you succeed in the job market. 

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