In her new book “What Your Body Says,” Sharon Saylor writes, “The most influential part of communication is your nonverbal. Your nonverbal can actually destroy or produce the results you want, such as inspiring employees to do better work, calming angry customers, creating fans in the marketplace and closing sales.”
In the survey of more than 2,500 hiring managers, 67 percent said that failure to make eye contact would make them less likely to hire a job candidate. Other non-verbals that hiring managers cited as negative included these seven things:
- Lack of smile – 38 percent
- Fidgeting too much – 33 percent
- Bad posture – 33 percent
- Handshake that is too weak – 26 percent
- Crossing arms over their chest – 21 percent
- Playing with their hair or touching their face – 21 percent
- Using too many hand gestures – 9 percent
“In a highly competitive job market, job seekers need to set themselves apart in the interview stage,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. “All that pressure, though, may have some job seekers making body language mistakes that don’t convey a confident message. To avoid these faux pas, and ensure you’re remembered for the right reasons, try practicing ahead of time in front of a mirror or family and friends.”
Haefner offers the following tips to avoid body language missteps during an interview:
- Keep calm. To make the best impression and avoid nervous body language, take measures to stay as calm as possible before the interview. Leave the house with plenty of time to get to the interview, avoid caffeine if possible and take deep, calming breaths.
- Practice makes perfect. The old adage proves true in this case, as you’ll feel more comfortable the more you prepare for the interview, and in turn, it will help decrease your anxiety. Rehearse ahead of time with friends or family, do your homework on the company and be prepared for common interview questions.
- See for yourself. Viewing yourself while speaking can help you notice what body language mistakes you might be making without realizing. Look in a mirror while practicing interview responses or videotape yourself to figure out your typical physical movements, and whether or not you need to change them.
Saylor, who is a certified group dynamics and behavioral coach, says it is possible to change your behavior and be conscious of what messages you’re sending with your own body. Her book gives the reader tips on overcoming many communication roadblocks including how to project confidence, how to look intelligent, how to eliminate verbal pauses, and how to use your posture to show confidence.