Knowing how to present yourself in a professional manner during your job interview is very important to securing the job that you are applying for. There are many interview tips that you can learn in order to “score” that successful job interview for you. The interview tips that allow for successful applicants to become employees deal with body language and speech in particular.
In everyday speech, whether talking to friends, family, or co-workers, we all move our hands, walk around, make eye contact, or change our facial expressions. These movements are called body language.
Body language is extremely important in both public speaking and everyday language. Research shows that non-verbal behavior accounts for nearly 60% of our communication message, so actions really do speak louder than words!
By learning the principles of positive body language, not only will you be able to increase the effectiveness of your speech, you will also learn how to control and release any nervous energy you may feel before addressing your potential employers.
Body Language Principles For Your Interview
Maintain Eye Contact
Eye contact or not having eye contact, plays a major role in forming an impression of someone. Have you ever spoken with a person who looked over your shoulder, above your head, at the floor, anywhere to avoid looking you in the eye? What impression did you form? Most likely you doubted their confidence, sincerity, or interest in you.
As the old saying goes, “the eyes” truly are “the reflection of the soul”. Maintaining good eye contact with your interviewer conveys a message that you are sincere, credible, friendly, and that you care about them and the importance of the position that you are applying for. Your eyes should be full of enthusiasm and energy. The more confidence you project through your eyes, the more confidence your interviewer or potential employer will have in what you saying during your interview.
Maintain An Upright Body Position
Slumping or drooping shoulders will make you appear to be sloppy and lack confidence.
Maintaining good posture is not only beneficial to your physical health, it is a great tool for increasing your speech effectiveness by conveying confidence and professionalism.
Make Sure Your Expression Match Your Message
It is important that your facial expressions are consistent with the feelings or information you are trying to convey. Otherwise, you may confuse the person who is interviewing you and compromise your credibility. This may sound obvious, but many of us have trained ourselves to smile even when we are angry or upset. This is especially true for women, who are taught to be pleasant and supportive.
While it is important to be pleasant and supportive, especially during counseling sessions, smiling too often or while discussing serious situations may undermine your message. On the other hand, many people tend to look angry when they are focused or concentrating. The bottom line… your interviewer and potential employer will see cues about how they are supposed to react to your message from the looks on your face. Learn how to match your face to your message to get your points across accurately during your interview.
Avoid Giggling Too Much
Just like smiling too often, giggling may also undermine your message. While genuine laughter is refreshing, giggling can be an indication of insecurity and nervousness and signals that you don’t take yourself too seriously. If you convey to your listener or audience that you don’t take yourself seriously, why should they?
Use Proper Gestures During Your Interview
Using occasional hand gestures and nodding to emphasize your message is perfectly acceptable and natural. However, excessive use becomes a serious distraction. A good rule of thumb is to keep hand gestures below your neckline. Nodding is a good complement to eye contact and is a highly effective method of visual encouragement. The nodded appears to be on your side, which is hard to resist.
With any gesture, remember that over-use will seem artificial and may eventually appear to be a nervous habit. Avoid clenching your hands, fidgeting with rings or jewelry, playing with strands of hair, pulling at clothing, rocking on heels because these are all signs of nervousness.
Speech And Language
Try to make an honest assessment of your own vocal patterns. Place a tape recorder next to the telephone or somewhere you spend a lot of time talking. You may be surprised by what you hear. Once you have identified areas that need improvement, make it a point to develop your own opinions and then share them with family, friends, a tape recorder, and even with yourself in the mirror. Practice makes perfect, and speech is no exception.
Speaking Too Fast
If you speak too fast in normal conversation, your nerves when addressing your interviewer will only add to the problem. Speaking too rapidly will make you appear to be uncontrolled and undisciplined.
To slow down your speech, try dividing your sentences into phrases of about four to eight words. Discipline yourself to say only one phrase at a time, with a slight pause in between.
Another method is to concentrate on speaking with proper diction. Pronounce every syllable, being sure not to swallow the ends of your words (thinkin’ or believin’) and fully pronounce the entire word from beginning to end.
Avoid Using The Squeaky Voice
People naturally associate a deeper vocal tone with more intellectual depth. If your vocal tone is weak and shallow, that’s exactly how you’ll be perceived.
To correct a squeaky voice, concentrate on learning to support your tone by breathing correctly. Correct breathing should begin near the stomach and be supported by the diaphragm. Do not tighten your stomach muscles when inhaling. This will constrict the diaphragm and the voice. By letting the stomach expand when breathing, the vocal tone will resonate with a richer, fuller tone.
Avoid Turning Every Statement Into A Question
Raising the pitch of your voice at the end of a sentence, thus turning a statement into a question, will make you sound uncertain, confused, or as if you are seeking approval. This habit is difficult to break, and requires you to be hyperaware of your speech patterns, consciously working to lower the pitch of your voice at the end of each sentence.
The Dreaded Monotone Voice
If you want your listener or audience to be interested in what you are saying, you must sound interested yourself. A monotonous voice can make even the most exciting idea sound boring.
To make your speech more animated and exciting, try to vary the pace and pitch of your voice, as well as the vocabulary and expressions you use.
Using Sloppy Diction
Careless pronunciation, though common among young people today, can be easily mistaken as laziness or lack of sophistication. One of the most common mistakes is dropping letters from the ends of words. Our own minds fill in the sound for us so most people are unaware when they make this mistake.
The flip side is that over enunciating your words can sound stiff and unnatural. Your objective should be to communicate naturally with an aura of professionalism, not to speak perfectly.
Speaking Too Loud Or Too Soft
The volume of your speech should vary depending on the intensity or sensitivity of the issues being discussed, the environment in which you are speaking, and the size of audience you are speaking to. Speaking in a moderate volume with conviction and assertion is appropriate for most circumstances. Just remember that no one likes to be yelled at, and no one likes straining to hear what someone is saying.
Avoid Using Fillers
Meaningless phrases fill our daily speech patterns, and they do nothing but waste time and water down our message, especially when we have a limited amount of time to get our point across and make a good impression.
Injecting words such as “um”, “like”, and “you know”, between every other phrase can be seen as a stalling tactic or imply a weak vocabulary. Buy yourself a good vocabulary building book and dedicate yourself to developing a stronger vocabulary so you don’ t have to resort to using “fillers”.
With the use of these interview tips, your potential employers will definitely see a professional demeanor and will pay attention to what you are saying instead of your body language or extraneous speech during the interview.