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Articles on Personality Development
Interview Techniques - III

Role of Body language

Every part of your body emits signals, which interpreted by the people evaluating you at an interview

·         It is said that actions speak louder than words.  Studies have proved that 60 % of the communication you make consists of body language alone.  Therefore, during an interview it is not just your tongue which conveys something. For instance, your body language conveys whether you are an insecure or a self-ensured person; whether you are speaking truthfully or not; and whether you are relaxed or tense.  Your body language reflects your enthusiasm, your sincerity and your sense of humor too. It is true that positive body language cannot be developed overnight, yet it can be developed.

  Golden rules to follow:
* Sport a smile. It conveys enthusiasm. But don’t keep grinning. You will only convey stupidity.
* Maintain attentive eye contact. But don’t stare.
* Be relaxed. Don’t rush through the process. Let the interviewer decide about the pace of the interview.
* Try to mirror the interviewers’ technique. Laugh if they laugh.
* If you get caught in a difficult situation, try to keep your cool. Don’t look as if your world has just crashed at your feet.
* Try to remain alert. Sit up straight. Don’t slump. Adjust your position slightly if you are uncomfortable. But don’t fidget.
* Try to project an open, honest and confident attitude.

Signs to watch out for
* Fidgeting – It conveys restlessness, boredom or both.
* Crossing of arms – Conveys a non-listening attitude.
* Foot tapping – Indicates boredom. It is very distracting too.
* Other gestures – Touching your face, or hair indicates that you are hiding something. Looking away, hesitating before speaking indicates you are confused and unsure of yourself.

Meaning of positive and negative signals
* Tilted head, constant eye contact and verbal acknowledgement indicate attentive listening.
* Smile indicates confidence and attentiveness.
* Frowning, head down, folded arms indicate rejection.
* Leaning far forward, finger pointing and grinding teeth indicates aggression.
* Touching your face, hands over mouth, eyes averted etc indicate lying.

Non Verbal Language
• The Gait – This refers to the manner of walking, bend forward in salutation and walking steadily towards the interviewer’s table is more desirable.
• Hands – Keep your hands gestures to a minimum. Some movements of hands while speaking is natural; just make sure they are no flailing about wildly. Also be sure to keep your hands visible at all times, as not doing so can send a subliminal message that you are untrustworthy.

The Handshake –
When the interviewed extends his hand for a handshake, the candidate should grasp it fully and press it to a certain degree. Pressing it too hard would convey the meaning to the interviewer that the candidate is impertinent and disrespectful. Not pressing it and touching it lightly only, would be interpreted by the interviewer that the candidate is anxious and afraid of him. Moreover, the candidate need not be the first to extend his hand for a handshake with the interviewer. Let it be a the senior’s prerogative.

Shaking hands well is an art. Everyone should receive a firm but not bone crushing handshake. Be sure not to pump the other person’s hand and arm too vigorously or for too long. A quick, one or two pumps, will suffice. And use only one hand; the two-handed shake (with your second hand patting the top) reminds of the receiving line at weddings and funerals.

Sitting Posture – The candidate should sit in the middle of the seat of the chair offered to him. He should avoid sitting on the edge of the chair. His sitting on the edge would indicate that he is tense and nervous. Similarly, he should avoid leaning backward. Because leaning backward would suggest that he is not adequately serious about the interview situation.

Gestures –
The candidate should make suitable gestures with his arms, hands, fingers, etc., to elaborate his viewpoints. At the same time he should avoid gestures like tapping the tabletop, dangling legs etc which are suggestive of nervousness.

can often make or mar your in an interview. For ex: In an interview you may feel that you have excellently done it. Although you had perfected your verbal communication, the non verbal cues you sent out were negative and portrayed you as non-confident.

Posture –
Stand and walk with your head erect and shoulders back, and keep your gait lively.

Facial expression –
If the image you want to convey is of an upbeat, energetic, capable person, they you must have a pleasant expression of your face. A face that looks relaxed – no furrowed brow, tense jaw, nervous twitches, or stern expression – gives the interviewer the impression that you are not only a pleasant person to deal with, but a confident one, as well.A person can express all types of feelings and emotions through facial expressions. He can express pleasure and sorrow, friendliness and acceptance of a point through his facial expressions. During the interview, therefore, he should use appropriate facial expressions to support his ideas. You would be amazed at the number of people who while interviewing are totally unaware of the sullen, bewildered, or even mildly hysterical expression plastered on their faces. This is more often than not true for college students. Hence practice before a mirror or with a friend to see what makes you scrunch up your face and avoid thinking those negative thoughts. Happy and positive thoughts make for a positive outlook.

Eye Contact –
An interviewer gets most of the information about a candidate by looking into his eyes. Expression in the candidate’s eyes gives him the most accurate information about him. A candidate who fails to make eye contact with the interviewer is not likely to be trusted by him. Possibly, one of the most important non-verbal cues that can provide insights into your levels of confidence as also your levels of interest. If you have a habit of looking away, while listening, it shows lack of interest and a short attention span. If you fail to maintain eye contact while speaking at the least it betrays lack of confidence in what you are saying and at a maximum, it may send a subtle indication that you could be lying Always make eye contact with IO. This not only communicates your interest, it powerfully conveys your trust and your trustworthiness. On the other hand, if you fail to make key contact, if you deliberately look away, or if your eyes habitually wander, you suggest two things: (1) You are bored with the IO (2) you are hiding something. You are dishonest – shifty eyed.

Avoid Staring –
For making the right type of eye contact, it is necessary that the candidate should know the difference between eye contact and staring./ When a candidate looks into the eyes of his interviewer for long in a fixed manner, that amounts to staring. That is taken as a threatening posture by the interviewer, and is not liked by him. It is, therefore, suggested that for making eye contact, the candidate should for most of the time, look at that triangular area of the interviewer’s face which is formed by his eyes and centre of his mouth.

Head Nods –
A common problem for anxious people is to nod their heads excessively. Be sure that your head nodding is subtle and appropriate to the interviewer’s comments. The candidate should also use appropriate head nods and body tilts, whenever necessary to support the stance he has taken in response to a question asked by the interviewer.

Misc gestures –
Watch out for such unnecessary and unprofessional gestures as tapping your foot, fiddling with a ring or other jewellery, twirling your hair, and drumming your fingers on the chair arm or desk. Not only are these movements distracting , but imply that you are nervous, impatient and/or bored.

Modulation of speech -
This refers to the speed of a candidate’s speech. This also relates to his raising or lowering of voice, speaking certain words will emphasis etc., when a candidate talks in a monotone, he tends to bore the interviewer. That type of performance can hardly help him, in his selection. Non-verbal language, therefore, plays an important role in the interview of a candidate.

Use of Smile –
It is the easiest way and the most effective tool in the hands of a candidate to win over the interviewer. But few candidates make use of it. The habit of smiling can prove very useful to a candidate especially when, in response to a particular question asked by the interviewer, he has to say, “Sorry Sir, I don’t know about this”

Smile –
The smile is the single strongest signal you can send to - n - the IO that you are open for interview.

Tone it down –
Speak distinctly. Don’t mumble. Don’t trail off.
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