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These are qualities you don’t want to portray to a hiring manager.

Bad posture, wandering eyes and fidgety hands could be keeping you back from getting the job you want. Here’s how to change your bad habits – For job seekers, breaking through to the interview stage can be a lot like making the first cut on a sports team. You’re thrilled about the opportunity, anxious about the process ahead, and you can hardly wait to speak to your skills and hopefully make the team.

But sometimes the outcome doesn’t depend as much on what you say, as on how you say it through your body language. While much of the job interview process depends on how you orally communicate – how you organize your thoughts into words and how you solve problems on the spot – the other part is to present yourself through your body language. Here are three areas to focus on to ensure you’ll be sitting tall at your next interview:

Posture Slouchy posture reads tired, disinterested, not alert. These are three qualities you don’t want to portray to a hiring manager.

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Practicing your posture beforehand. Consider the little things like sitting straight at the dinner table and walking tall wherever you go. Solid posture will not only make you look good to employers, but it’ll also give you, as the candidate, an underlying confidence. You’ll be shocked at how much better you personally feel when conversations are accompanied by good posture.

Eye contact You’re not interviewing with the ceiling fan or the boardroom chair. This usually happens subconsciously, but wandering eyes can say a lot about an individual. From your first-ever job interview experience, you’re advised to avoid letting your thoughts wander in the midst of responding to a question or telling a story, so neither should your eyes.

Wandering eyes are common in conversations, but it’s important to keep them steady and maintain regular contact during the most meaningful ones, like a job interview. A good trick is to look between someone’s eyes, instead of directly into them. If direct eye contact isn’t your forte, this is easier and gives the impression of eye contact. It shows attentiveness, confidence and trustworthiness; it shows you’re interested in what hiring managers have to say and, in turn, you portray and provide a composed response. Just ensure you don’t overdo it, blank stares and sticky eyes can come off as intimidating and aggressive.

Hands Your goal is to get hiring managers to look at what you have to offer – not to look at your hands for the entire 45-minute interview slot. Using your hands to talk or fidget is not only a distraction to employers, but can be one for you as well.

Talking with your hands should be kept to a minimum – also be mindful of nail biting, finger tapping and pointing. If you’re guilty of excessively using your hands during conversations, do the little things like placing them on your lap or neatly positioning them on the desk. Hiring managers will appreciate the absence of flailing and fidgety hands, and you’ll come off as a focused, collected candidate.

Megan Santos
 

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