From The Associated PressWhen it comes to landing a job, what you say to a prospective employer may sometimes be less important than how you say it. In a recent survey by staffing firm OfficeTeam, senior managers said 30 percent of candidates display negative body language during interviews.
Respondents identified eye contact as the most telling nonverbal cue when meeting with applicants, rating it a 4.18 on a scale of one to five (with five indicating the highest significance). This was followed by facial expressions (3.96).
Senior managers were asked, “On a scale of one (not much) to five (a lot), how much do the following nonverbal cues tell you about a candidate during an interview?” Their responses:• Eye contact 4.18
• Facial expressions 3.96
• Posture 3.55
• Handshake 3.53
• Fidgeting/habitual movements 3.33
• Hand gestures 3.03
“Providing thoughtful responses and asking intelligent questions carry a lot of weight during a job interview, but your body language can also speak volumes,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam.
“Candidates need to do everything they can to increase their chances of receiving an offer - and that includes avoiding negative and distracting nonverbal behaviors.”
OfficeTeam offers job seekers five tips for putting their best body language forward during interviews:
Aim for a handshake that’s firm, but doesn’t crush the recipient. Limit the duration to a few seconds.
Break out of that slump
Subtly mirror the interviewer’s body language and posture. Sit up straight and lean forward slightly to show engagement and confidence.
Put on a happy face
A genuine smile demonstrates warmth and enthusiasm. Conduct a mock interview with a friend to find out if you’re unwittingly sending negative nonverbal cues.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Maintain regular eye contact during the meeting, but look away occasionally. Staring may be perceived as aggressive.
Resist the urge to shake your legs, tap your fingers or twirl your pen. It’s fine to use hand gestures, as long as they’re not distracting. Keep your arms uncrossed to appear more open and receptive.