A job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you've only been through a few (or even none) in your professional life. However, showing your nerves isn't likely to be a positive for you; body language can, in fact, influence hiring decisions a lot more than you may realize. With that in mind, it's important to let your body do some of the talking for you and communicate that you are interested in the job, eager to join the company and engaged with whatever their mission happens to be.
The following are six ways to ensure your body language projects your interest effectively:
1) Sit up straight
Perhaps the biggest sign of bad body language is bad posture, so you should strive to do everything you can to avoid making a negative impression in this way, according to Forbes. If you're slouching your shoulders and not sitting back in your chair, you may come across as bored, unconfident or inattentive. Instead, if you sit up straight with your back on the chair and your feet flat on the floor, you will be projecting a much better attitude.
2) Make the right amount of eye contact
It's always important to make eye contact and establish a human connection, especially because some people might see a lack thereof as a potentially worrisome trait, Forbes advised. If you're not used to making a lot of eye contact, it's critical to focus on getting the right amount; "none" won't do, but neither will "too much." You can feel free to look around the room, make some notes and so on, but return to that eye contact throughout the conversation.
3) Lean forward on occasion
To really make it seem like you're listening intently, or when you're making a point you feel is vital to emphasize, leaning forward in your chair shows you're engaged and interested, according to Business Insider. Again, your default should be sitting with your back firmly up against the back of the chair, but leaning in on occasion will project confidence in the point you're trying to get across, or agreement with what the interviewer is saying.
4) Don't cross your legs
As mentioned, it's wise to make sure your feet stay firmly planted on the ground, because it promotes good posture, Business Insider noted. It also helps you avoid the urge to cross your legs, which can come across as too casual or even show that you're bored.
Another way to show you're interested in what's being said is to occasionally smile throughout the conversation, according to CNBC. As with eye contact, there's both a "too much" and "not enough" when it comes to smiling, but here too, using it to emphasize your own point or show you agree with the other person's is usually a good idea.
6) Avoid fidgeting
This is a big issue for many people with interview nerves, but it's something you have to focus on avoiding, CNBC added. Fidgeting can appear as a lack of confidence or even disinterest, so despite whatever urge you may have to move around in your seat, wiggle your leg or tap your fingers, avoid the impulse.