What Are the Appropriate Manners and Body Language for a Job Interview?
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Interviewing for job openings with small businesses is a source of frustration and anxiety for entry-level candidates, as well as seasoned professionals. Ensure that you know the time and place of the interview and then arrive on time. Remember that regardless of your level of education or work experience, displaying appropriate manner and body language can help you boost your confidence and increase the potential success of your interview.
When you meet your interviewer, one of the first things he'll likely do is extend his hand to give you a handshake and welcome you to the interview. Extend your hand and offer a firm handshake. Many business professionals view a weak handshake as unprofessional, and a sign of weakness.
Eye contact is important in most business situations, including during job interviews. Eye contact shows potential employers that you feel confident, aren't intimidated and that you're alert and ready to discuss the position you're interviewing for. Make eye contact from the moment you meet your potential employer, especially during your initial handshake.
Turn Toward the Interviewer
Once your interviewer invites you to sit down, position yourself so that you're facing your interviewer. You body, legs and feet should be point in your interviewer's direction, so that you appear engaged and ready to start the interview. You can also slightly lean in toward your interviewer.
Sit Up Straight
During your interview, your posture sends signals to potential employers about how engaged you are in what they're saying. Sit straight, avoiding slouching, as it makes you appear disinterested. Resist the urge to cross your legs; instead, place booth feet firmly on the floor.
Use Appropriate Language
Body language plays an important role in the first impression you make on potential employers. Employers also pay close attention to how you speak, to ensure that your verbal communication skills match the companies' needs. Speak in a clear voice and use proper grammar. Job candidates sometimes believe that using jargon makes them appear more knowledgeable of their fields or industries, but you should avoid using it, since hiring managers advise against it. You may feel comfortable with your interviewer, but you still have to maintain a level of respect and class, so avoid using offensive words, such as profanity.
Say Thank You
At the end of your interview, don't rush to the door. Instead, take the time to thank each person for interviewing you. Be sure to make eye contact, give each person in the room a firm handshake, address them by their names and say "thank you."
- Forbes.com; Is Your Body Betraying You in Job Interviews?; Scott Reeves; February 2006
- Forbes.com: Seven Tips on Job Interviewing Body Language
- Career Builder; The Interview: Body Language Do's and Don'ts; Septemeber 2007
- The Ladders: Body Language Speaks Volumes on a Job Interview; Karl Rozemeyer; August 2009
Miranda Brookins is a marketing professional who has over seven years of experience in copywriting, direct-response and Web marketing, publications management and business communications. She has a bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Towson University and is working on a master's degree in publications design at University of Baltimore.
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