Arti is an ENT surgeon who loves her field of work dearly. When she reached home one day, she was surprised to find, in her mailbox, an interview call from a private hospital. Now when she had applied to this hospital, she was not actually expecting a positive response. What scared her was the date of the interview, which was just one week away. Of course she was confident about her knowledge in her subject. It was the one-to-one communication with the interviewer which was going to be new for her. She believed she could do with a few tips on this subject.
Like Arti, when you are to appear for any interview, be it for a new job or for admission to a prestigious college, you will be given tips on a lot of things. While getting the answers correct is one aspect of getting the interview right, it is not the only one. You need to dress appropriate to the occasion and be careful that your gestures are in sync with what you are trying to communicate.
For example, if you are saying you are passionate about reading, and at the same time are sitting slouched without the desired enthusiasm on your face, the interviewer might not be convinced. This might hamper his receptivity to further answers as well. The eagerness on your face, how well you listen to the questions, whether you answer with the correct tempo, how well you exit the room, all of it will be a part of your overall performance. This is especially true in the case of multiple interviewers, where each one of them is judging you on different grounds. Here are the important cues to follow.
THE GREETING: Arti needs to remember that the marking by the interviewer will begin as soon as she walks into the room. It is the first impression that really counts. She would have to be fully prepared to go into the interview with a positive frame of mind and a relaxed attitude. Like her, you need to greet the interviewer with a firm handshake and a warm smile. Don’t forget to maintain eye contact when the formal greeting is exchanged. If there are multiple interviewers, connect to each one personally by establishing eye contact.
THE Q & A: The round of questions and answers can go on for any length of time. Some of us experience a short and to-the-point interview while a few of us might start to wonder when the interview would be getting over. Whatever it be in your case, do not lose your poise until you step out of the room. The following are specific pointers to keep in mind till the round is over.
1. Listen carefully to the question. Nod slightly when you agree to the point being made or to show you are following the question being put in front of you.
2. Don’t slouch when you are seated since this is a sign of disinterest and low confidence. Remember to lean in slightly towards the interviewer.
3. Don’t put your arms out on the table, especially if the table is not very big. The interviewer might unconsciously feel threatened if you are intruding his personal space.
4. Don’t cross your arms. It will make you appear defensive for one. Also, the interviewer might unconsciously mirror you and then you will be heading nowhere with the conversation.
5. Don’t fidget with your hair or any accessories. You will appear impatient and not very enthusiastic. It is best to minimize your accessories, be it jewelry or a suitcase or a bulky handbag. In case you have a bag with you when you enter the room, leave it on the floor so that you don’t unconsciously fidget with it.
6. Do use arms gestures wisely and evidently. Using open arms during any conversation shows an open attitude. If you are seated too close to the table you might not get enough space for this. So do leave a little room between your chair and the table so arm gestures can be possible when required.
7. Don’t sit with your face or feet pointing towards the door. The interviewer might sense that you are not too keen to proceed with the interview.
MIRROING THE INTERVIEWER: The mirroring technique deserves a special mention as it might really get the interviewer to connect with you on a subconscious level. In fact it might save your interview if you started off on the wrong foot, forgot the handshake or did not answer a few questions properly. But use this technique only if you can do so effectively. This means you should have practiced it enough prior to the interview so that it doesn’t distract you from answering the questions. Also you need to make sure it does not have the opposite impact on the interviewer. If he senses you are trying to manipulate him in any way, you might just be crossed off from the list.
EXITING ON A POSITIVE NOTE: When the interviewer communicates that the interview has ended, you don’t need to exit the room in a hurry. Take your time to thank him, gather your things, smile and shake hands, if offered, and then leave. Be sure that you don’t fumble in the last few seconds since you don’t want the interviewer to remember the last of you like that.
Go on, try a few of these with a round of mock interviews with your friends. It will take a little practice to get all of them right. And you don’t want to be concentrating so much on your postures during the interview that you forget to hear the question being put forth to you! Like Arti will tell you, if you have your knowledge in place, these little cues are the edge you need to differentiate from the rest of the crowd.
Khyati Bhatt. Body Language Consultant
Simply Body Talk – www.simplybodytalk.com