Body Language Mistakes That Can Cost You A Job

| 3 min read

Okay, so now you have done the hard part in your seemingly never ending job search. You started by surfing for jobs openings, spent copious time to prepare and email your perfectly manicured resume and flawless cover letter. You gathered relevant intelligence about the company and the role you have applied for.
Finally, you showed up for the interview in a well pressed 3 piece suit and lawyer-ed brilliant responses to the tough interview questions. Someway somehow, the story had the same unfavorable ending. You were denied the job and you are repeatedly wandering why. Well, my guess is a few body language mistakes you made might have cost you the job.
Patti Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma (2012) put it rightly that “A candidate can give out thousands of non-verbal cues within the first minute of meeting a hiring manager, and those messages make more of an impact than the words that you use during the interview’’. Also, “Our body language says a lot about who we are and our emotional state, and poor body language often sends a message that we are stressed or fearful.”

 It is necessary to unlearn the body language mistakes that are almost routine and make a remarkable first impression on your interviewers and gain leverage in your job hunt. You may find these suggestions useful.
 So how do you avoid making body language mistakes? With practice and preparation. “Practice entering and leaving a room, think about where you will put your briefcase during the interview, and plan how you will say hello and goodbye to the interviewer,” Wood says.
 Preparation for the interview often builds confidence, Burns says. When you’re confident, you tend to have fewer body language issues. The hiring manager looks for ways to set a candidate apart from others, Burns says. “The negative differentiation, like poor and ineffective body language, help make the decision easy for the hiring manager.”
 Wood says don’t wait until you’re in the hot seat to start focusing on your body language. Be aware of your posture, your facial expressions and your gestures from the moment you arrive.
 You’re probably a strong candidate but forget to smile, slouch in your chair or fail to make eye contact during the interview, and you could be out of the running.
 Once the interviewer greets you, make eye contact and offer a palm-to-palm handshake that is not too strong and not too weak. Keep an appropriate distance as he or she greets you. Relax your body and smile.
 Once you’re in the hot seat, find an appropriate place to set down your belongings. Don’t put your briefcase or purse on your lap or on the table. Sit up straight, avoid touching your face and hair, and don’t cross your arms or hide your hands.
 “Don’t be afraid to gesture,” Wood says. Gesturing shows that you’re enthusiastic and expressive. It can also help access more information in your brain and create vocal variation, she adds.

Jide Otoki