Do you feel shy, panicky, or disconnected when walking away from interviews? Well its quite possible that your body could be the culprit in how you are feeling and your chances of interview success. Research on our body’s role in communicating shows that the subtle movements of our different body parts play a major role in our ability to communicate that we are confident, competent, and approachable, all soft skills needed to impress an interviewer.
I recently attending the Women in Business Conference in Ohio, and I had the time to hear Amy Cuddy’s research on the affect power poses had in getting a good evaluation on a job interview. Her research showed that locking our bodies into a power pose position, such as the Wonder Woman or The CEO, improved job interviewers evaluation ratings as well as likeliness to be hired. Participants stood in this positions for two minutes before the interview and it helps to increase hormones that are associated with confidence and leadership. Here’s a five-minute recap of her presentation. Her research shows the way our body communicates with ourselves and others plays an important role in our chances of being successful. Body language in interviews is an established concept. Here are some other ways that the body plays an important role in successfully performing interview.
An important piece of advice in communicating authentically is being able to maintain eye contact with another person. The squints, rolls, and glares of our eyes quickly sends a message to whoever is on the receiving end. How we use our eyes when we conversate can help in how open people are with us, or how defensive. A newer study published by the Journal of Psychology of Science suggests that simply maintain eye contact is not enough when communicating with others and may actually make a person more defensive. What matters is how we are maintaining that contact. Essentially people want to see eyes that show connection, warmth, and competence. These kind of eyes can not be faked by someone who is ignoring or not understanding the conversation not matter how much their irises bore into the eyes of their interviewers. Genuine listening is the surest way to maintain eye contact that feels authentic. Essentially it is the intention of our mind that is portrayed through our bodies, and experienced interviewers are pretty good at reading that.
Another aspect of our face that plays an important role in how we relate to others is through smiling. Smiling can also be read as extremely creepy or genuinely warm and accommodating. My suggestion is asking your friends what they think of your smile before going all out in an interview. Another important part of smiling is knowing that it is not appropriate to smile for the sake of smiling. This is tough habit for me as I’m pretty much able to make a quick mental joke out of anything, but an interview is a time to be selective in what you support with your smiles. Typically it makes sense to stick with smiling when you can’t help it, but not smiling just because or to be sarcastic.
Our body language plays a powerful role in how we are perceived by others and ourselves. For instance, being forced to smile actually brings in a sense of happiness within ourselves. It is important that we bring awareness to how are bodies are behaving in situations, reflecting on why, and finding ways to be more comfortable. Getting in touch with your body may be the next step to finding career success.