Be aware of body language during job interviews

Seventy-five percent of a first impression comes from body language. What are your actions saying to potential employers?
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Nov 07, 2012
By dvm360.com staff

Your body language can often speak louder than words. Given we only have seven seconds to make a good first impression, it’s important to make every second count—especially when you’re trying to ace a job interview. Melvin Scales, executive coach says 75 percent of that impression comes from body language such as strong eye contact, a slight smile, and a firm handshake—pleasant conversation accounts for the other 25 percent. At Wake Forest University, Scales coaches students to control their body language using a technique he calls “head, shoulders, knees and toes.” Here’s how to make his advice work for you:

Head

  • Keep your eyes focused on the interviewer without staring. Blink, but don’t wink.
  • Smile now and then to assure the interviewer that you understand what is being asked, as well as during your responses. This generates confidence.
  • Don’t look up or from side to side when responding to a question. Averting your gaze makes you seem less certain, trustworthy and truthful.

Shoulders

  • Keep your back straight, head up and with your arms at your side or hands clasped below your waist.
  • Minimize the use of your hands during the interview. They should remain below shoulder level at all times.
  • When you want to make an emphatic point, lean slightly towards the interviewer without invading his or her space, which is about three feet.

Knees and toes

  • Men should sit with backs straight and feet flat on the floor. Women’s legs should be crossed at the ankles underneath the chair.
  • If part of the interview is conducted while walking and talking or standing, be careful not to shift your weight or rock.