Interviewing for a job can be just as nerve wracking as performing a dramatic monologue in front of your English class. Your hands may shake, your smile may become nervous or your body may just feel uncomfortable. Fortunately, by utilizing the proper gestures you can succeed at your interview while keeping your mind and body calm.

Hear Your Name and You’re on the Spot

You’ve probably heard that your interview begins the moment you are called into the office, which is quite true. The gestures you provide, along with your body language, tells your potential manager a lot about your confidence and personality. Since you do not want to look like a immobile robot, some gestures are ok to use.

When you begin your interview, make sure to shake the hand of everyone in the room while keeping eye contact. This will reflect a welcoming and positive attitude. The next factor to keep in mind is how you sit in your chair. Make sure that both your feet are flat on floor or cross your ankles. Your hands should be placed lightly in your lap or settled on the arms of the chair. Remember to never cross your arms. This gesture makes you seem frightened or defensive and unable to be open and communicative. If you feel like you need to move around during your interview, try to mirror another person in the room or slightly shift the position of your feet.

Hand gestures can also be used during your interview time to enhance your communication and answers. Open palms reflect honesty and the ability to take in new information, while fists will reflect an attack mode or nervousness. If you want to use your hands to emphasize key points or important words, these gestures need to be concise. Overly dramatic hand gestures will leave you looking like an actor auditioning for a stage role. Worse, you might even bonk yourself or an interviewer if you are not careful.

Never, Ever

While there are many great gestures and body language techniques to utilize for your job interview, there are quite a few gestures to avoid all together. Leaving these out of your question and answer process will create a professional, knowledgeable and mature reflection of your personality and skills.

Some of the gestures and body placements to avoid include the following:

· Fingers clasped together and placed rigidly on top of your lap.

· Wringing your hands.

· Playing with a pen or pencil.

· Hiding your hands beneath the table.

· Placing arms on the table.

· Slouching in your chair or resting your face in your hands.

· Leaning too far forward towards the table.

· Leaning too far back in your chair; this reflects a closed mind.

Other gestures to avoid are pointing fingers or chopping motions. Both of these come across as rude and arrogant, both traits you want to avoid when making your first impression.

It is also important to be aware of your physical habits that may be ok when you’re at home watching a movie or out to dinner with friends. However, these habits can truly cost you a job if you are not careful. Many of these physical behaviors include tousling your hair, picking at your nails and fiddling with rings, necklaces and earrings. Adjusting your clothes or sunglasses, rubbing your eyes or scratching your nose can be distracting gestures as well.

It’s All in the Eyes

One final thought to keep in mind is how you look at your potential future employer and co-workers during your interview. You must find a combination of professional eye contact mixed with the understanding that no one likes to be in stare down the whole time. If the hiring manager asks you a question, make sure to look at him or her for about 10-15 seconds, but then shift your gaze over to the other members of the interview panel. This shows that you want to communicate with everyone, not just the person asking the questions.

On the other hand, if you avoid eye contact all together, you will be seen as shy and lacking in self-confidence. If your eyes shift around the room or you stare down at your feet, you will seem nervous, agitated or just down right frightened.

Including gestures in your next job interview can be a great asset. However, make sure you are concise and that your smile is shining throughout your time in the hot seat. For nothing says, “Thank you for considering me,” like a warm smile accompanied by straight posture, confident handshakes and steady gazes to everyone in the room.

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