It doesn’t matter how well qualified or comprehensively experienced, or well-rehearsed you are; if your body language on interview is all wrong, your interviewer won’t like you. Studies suggest that up to 93% of communication is non-verbal, and we all make constant rapid unconscious judgements about people we’re talking to, and this is particularly obvious for those that are lying about achievements on their CV.
The reality is, as all experienced interviewers know, that most people are terrible liars, and that when you probe a little around those obviously fabricated areas, they descend rapidly into panic and incompetence. This is one of the excellent reasons why it is always best to tell the truth; it will immediately help your confidence, with a positive knock-on effect on your body language.
Thirty years ago, a psychologist called Albert Mehrabian released a study that suggested that the content of what you say only counts for 7% of your personal credibility. According to his research, the tone of your voice accounts for 38%, and then visual clues including facial expressions, gestures and pupil dilation make up a huge 55% of your credibility rating.
Of course much of this is beyond our control. Mehrabian suggested that we each have a ‘vocabulary’ of around 138,000 non-verbal and visual cues, with basic control of a mere 200 or so. And even then, we can only have much control over them about 20% of the time.
This issue is exacerbated for more intelligent people, who often have a deeper focus on their internal trains of thought, meaning their non-verbal cues are even more noticeable to the average interviewer.
What, then, is the best way to use this information to approach interviews? Given how difficult these areas are to control, is there any point even trying? Actually, it is. It’s more than possible to train your body to behave in different ways. A great first step is to hire one of City CV’s Executive Coaches, who can guide you through the process. But if you prefer to do it yourself, here are some tips:
- Most of us have no idea how we come across in interview; it’s why your voice always sounds like a stranger when you hear it played back to you. Without deliberate intervention, we have no idea about facial expressions, common expressions, tics, tone of voice or posture. So practice your interview questions in front of a mirror or, better, get a video camera, even if it’s only on your phone. Then force yourself to watch it, rinse and repeat. It’s painful but effective.
- Ask for feedback. A City CV interview coach would be perfect, but if you have to, make do with friends. If you have someone who is a practiced interviewer, choose them, they will very likely be able to give you excellent feedback.
- Don’t sit on a deep sofa while waiting for your interview to begin. You don’t want your interviewer’s first impression of you to be struggling to get up from a low position. Pick a seat from which it is easy to rise.
- When in interview, focus on your posture. Be open, relaxed and comfortable. Sit up straight and lean slightly forwards in order to project the impression of concentration and alert attention. Wear smart, professional clothes that mean you can breathe.
- Bear in mind the mnemonic ROLE, which stands for relaxed, open, leaning and eye contact.
- Don’t fidget! Be natural, but don’t pick at your fingernails or jiggle your legs. Some people advise fidgety types to sit on their hands, but frankly this just looks worse. Breathing deeply can help you to stay calm.
If you need help with body language, interview techniques or any kind of preparation for future interviews, City CV can help. With a talented team of professional CV writers and interview coaches encompassing over 100 years of collective experience, across a wide range of sectors, we will create bespoke interview sessions for you. To find out how we can increase your chances of interview success, call us on +44 20 7100 6656 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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