Physical awareness is a must during job interviews

11/1/2016

Mastering the interview process is a unique and essential element of getting your dream job. Far from a mere rehashing of the information on your resume, the interview is your big chance to make an impression on the hiring manager and present your personality and potential alongside your employment and education history. The way you move, speak and conduct yourself will be under heavy scrutiny, so it's worth preparing to impress.

Changing up your approach when things aren't going well and acting in a way that suits the mood of the interview will help you get an offer. However, if you're too internally focused, you may miss the cues that will help you shape your behavior and react effectively. This is why Forbes contributor Lisa Quast, suggested you go into the meeting ready to observe the body language and expression of hiring managers. Nonverbal expressions can show you when you're on the right track.

Recognizing common reactions
If you can detect on the fly whether an interviewer is impressed or not, you can steer the conversation in a way that showcases your best qualities. If you lack such awareness, you may end up giving a disappointing performance without realizing it. To help you change things up, Quast shared the meanings of some common actions by hiring managers:

  • Eye contact is a good sign: An interviewer who makes consistent eye contact while you speak is likely tuned in to what you're saying. This generally means you're delivering answers that are an appropriate length. If the hiring manager is looking around, that could indicate you've been talking about a specific point for too long.
  • Keep an eye on facial expressions: Even when a hiring manager doesn't say anything positive or negative about your performance, his or her face will likely tell you whether you're doing well. An engaged smile means you're on the right track, while raised eyebrows point to confusion and a lack of expression is a sign of boredom.
  • Good and bad gestures: When hiring managers are interested in what candidates are saying, their gestures will often make this clear. Taking notes is a positive sign, as are nodding and laughter. Movements that indicate disconnect or disinterest include leaning back with arms crossed.

Adopting the movements
When you become a mirror for your interviewer's motions, you may increase your appeal. Business Insider noted that there is a positive psychological correlation linking similar body language and bonding between individuals. Mirroring a hiring manager's physical cues shows that you're engaged in the conversation. People who sit still when others are moving could seem less interested or trustworthy. You want to demonstrate that you're actually on the same page as the interviewer.

If you can observe and internalized body language, you can more fully direct and control conversations with hiring managers. This is one way in which interviews go well beyond what's printed on your resume and cover letter. These meetings are a chance to show that you can interact well in in-person situations and get on the same wavelength as the interviewer.

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