Your heart feels ready to leap out of your chest. Beads of sweat build on your forehead. Your mind is racing. It's not a full-blown interrogation -- although it may feel like it -- it's just a job interview. While it's no secret that job interviews can be nerve-racking, a lot of job candidates spend a significant amount of time worrying about what they will say during their interview, only to blow it all with their body language. The old adage, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it," still holds meaning, even if you're not talking. You need to effectively communicate your professionalism both verbally and nonverbally. Because watching your nonverbal cues, delivering concise answers and expressing your enthusiasm at once can be difficult when you're nervous, here's a guide to walk you through it:
Have them at "hello"
Before you walk into the interview, it's assumed that you will have done the following: prepared yourself by reading up on the company and recent company news; practiced what you'll say to some of the more common interview questions; and followed the "what to wear on your interview" advice. So you're ready, right? Some hiring managers claim they can spot a possible candidate for a job within 30 seconds or less, and while a lot of that has to do with the way you look, it's also in your body language. Don't walk in pulling up your pantyhose or readjusting your tie; pull yourself together before you stand up to greet the hiring manager or enter their office. Avoid a "dead fish" handshake and confidently -- but not too firmly -- grasp your interviewer's hand and make eye contact while saying hello.
Shake your hand, watch yourself
If you are rocking back in your chair, shaking your foot, drumming your fingers or scratching your... anything, you're going to look like the type of future employee who wouldn't be able to stay focused, if even for a few minutes. It's a not a game of charades, it's a job interview. Here's what to do (and not do):
After a few well-thought-out questions and answers with your interviewer, it's almost over, but don't lose your cool just yet. Make sure your goodbye handshake is just as confident now as it was going in. Keep that going while you walk through the office building, into the elevator and onto the street. Once safely in your car, a cab or some other measurable safe distance from the scene of your interview, it's safe to let go. You may have aced it, but the last thing you want is some elaborate end-zone dance type of routine killing all your hard work at the last moment.
More job interview tips:
- Top 10 things NOT to do in an interview
- 7 ways to calm your nerves before a big job interview
- Are post-interview thank-you notes still a thing?
- How to explain being fired to potential employers
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