The importance of body language in a job interview

Whether you realise it or not, you’re constantly communicating with other people around you. Strangers in the street, colleagues in your office, or simply a barista in a café, you are endlessly sending out a stream of signals and messages that reveal information about you. It’s not through direct communication like speech, however, but a much more passive phenomenon – body language.

Though subtle, it definitely shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s a powerful tool and – when manipulated correctly – could be a vital key to succeeding in social situations – this could be anything from having a great catch-up with friends, to creating a fantastic first-impression with a potential employer. Here at Bamboo Crowd, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you to get the best out of your body language.

  1. Stand tall

Good posture. This is key for first impressions and tells a whole story about how confident you are within yourself. Whether you’re standing or sitting, make sure to keep your back straight, shoulders relaxed and head straight. The message you send will be one of poise; you’ll be approachable and amicable.

  1. Eye contact

In any situation, make sure that you are attentive to your peers. If someone is speaking, looking at them (even though it might seem obvious) shows that you’re listening. Conversations can be made much slicker and more straightforward by doing this simple gesture as it shows that you’re ready to hear what they have to say – good or bad.

  1. Smile (appropriately!)

Positive reinforcement should not be underrated. A smile shows that you’re aware of what’s going on, and you’re enjoying it. However, don’t overdo it! Relentlessly grinning in social settings won’t help you. A modest smile, properly placed, will help you to come across as humble, sensitive and interested.

  1. Be still

Fiddling, looking around the room, tapping your feet indicates apathy and boredom. Any gesture like this sends out negative signals if you’re in a situation that requires your attention. Do this and people will think that you’re disinterested; that something in the situation has failed. Instead, be sure to have both feet placed firmly on the ground, keep your hands still and keep your focus directed on the setting or speaker.

  1. Slow down

Even though certain situations – like an interview – might leave you a bundle of nerves, taking a bit of time to relax can do wonders for how others portray you. Breathe deeply, and don’t worry about taking some time to think before you speak or answer a question. Composure is improved greatly by slowing down. Do this, and the chances are that what you end up contributing to the conversation will be of a better quality – you’ll be saying what you intended instead of waffling and tripping over yourself.

Through small amendments like these, you can easily manage conversation and social settings so that you and your peers get the best out of it. If nothing else, by taking control of your body language, you can be happy in the knowledge that you know how you will be perceived. And, with knowledge comes confidence – so enjoy yourself!

I’m a Founding Partner of Bamboo Crowd. I help our clients invest better in people and scale through Engine. I solve recruitment challenges and help our clients source the best talent across operations, business development, programme management, and technology. Ask me about good films, beards and hip hop.