How to stay calm during an interview
It may seem like you have all your ducks in a row, from a polished resume to thought-provoking questions for the hiring manager. But how will you control actions that arise when you’re nervous?
Career expert and longtime former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Kate White says those “pacifiers,” gestures that we use to calm down, can make or break a job interview. These include flailing your hands nervously, touching the dimple just below the neck, especially when asked an awkward question, or playing your hair.
“Pacifiers suggest some degree of insecurity, which you never want to show in an interview,” says White, who’s also the author of “I Shouldn't Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know” (HarperBusiness, 2012).
“When you radiate power through your physical actions, such as your body language and your voice, you immediately signal to those around you that you are the person in charge and you deserve respect,” she says. When you are confident, you also ward off criticism.
You should be mindful of all body language, she adds, both yours and the people who interview you.
“When you’re interviewing for a job, you’ve got a lot of balls to keep in the air, and you may feel the last thing you can do is concentrate on your body language. But you’ll come across far more confidently if you do keep body language in mind,” she says.
White offers some tips to consider:
• Sit strategically. Once you’re sitting down, move the chair about 30 degrees so it’s slightly off center. Being directly face-to-face often makes the other person anxious. Keep your head level when listening, which can be interpreted as levelness.
• Don’t overdo eye contact. Experts suggest maintaining eye contact about 60 percent of the time. Also consider glancing away while speaking, giving the other person a break.
• Control your legs and feet. Some hiring managers check out candidate’s feet and legs. Refrain from crossing your legs; rather, keep them both on the ground.
• Remember your manners. Arrive on time and focus on the task at hand. Don’t bring in drinks to sip during the interview, much less food or even candy. And make sure to turn off your phone.
• Manifest security. Studies show that sitting in an expansive dominant pose – one that takes up space – not only makes you feel more powerful but also decreases stress. Something to keep in mind, but should be used with caution at an interview.
© CTW Features