When an employer makes a decision to hire you, they are taking a chance on you. You need to show them that you have confidence in your abilities. It is commonly understood that 55% of communication is body language. This means that all of your carefully crafted interview responses account for less than half of the message that is being communicated. Interviewers often pay close attention to your body language because they believe that it is an accurate indication of your true feelings. Here are a few tips that will help you make sure that your non-verbal communication is helping you and not hurting you:
Maintain eye contact. Most people perceive eye contact to be an indication of both confidence and honesty. Try to maintain eye contact with all of the interviewers throughout the interview.
Sit straight. Having good posture makes you look more professional. Sit up straight and don't cross your arms or hold anything on your lap. You want to come across as confident and engaged.
Don't fidget. We all have nervous habits but fidgeting is distracting and the interviewer may perceive it as a lack of confidence or self-control. You may not even know that you have nervous ticks. Often just becoming aware that you tend to play with your hair when you are nervous is enough to squelch that habit. Do a practice interview with a friend and ask them if you are fidgeting at all. It's even better if you can videotape your interview so that you can see how you look.
Shake their hand. It is important that you shake the interviewer's hand at both the beginning and the end of the interview. Try to make sure that your hands aren't too dry, sweaty or cold. Shake their hand firmly (but not too firmly) for two pumps and then let go.
Smile. More important than anything else is that you smile during your interview. You want to look like you are relaxed and enjoying yourself; not like you are uncomfortable. Be friendly and try to approach your interview as a conversation.
The most effective way to project confidence is to actually feel confident. If you truly believe that you are a good fit for this job, your confidence will shine through.
(Written by Karen Bivand, Image by rawpixel.com)