Your CV is nearly flawless and your outfit was perfect. You came prepared and answered all questions, you talked about your strengths and weaknesses and all in all, the interview went well. But then you are rejected. What went wrong?
The reason you didn’t land the job may have been something you showed rather than did. Many job seekers underestimate the power of their body language. A new CareerBuilder.co.uk survey reveals the top ten body language mistakes job seekers make during job interviews that could cost them the job as well as factors that may increase one’s odds of getting hired. The result in short: Job seekers with shifty eyes, reluctant smiles and limp handshakes may have more trouble landing a job.
When asked to identify the biggest body language turnoffs in job interviews, employers pointed to the following:
1. Failure to make eye contact – 83 per cent
2. Weak handshake – 54 per cent
3. Failure to smile – 48 per cent
4. Crossing your arms over your chest – 41 per cent
5. Playing with something on the table – 40 per cent
6. Playing with your hair or touching your face – 36 per cent
7. Fidgeting too much in your seat – 34 per cent
8. Bad posture – 32 per cent
9. Using too many hand gestures – 13 per cent
10. Handshake that is too strong – 6 per cent
“Employers are evaluating the whole package during job interviews and the non-verbal cues job candidates give can be very influential on the hiring decision,” said Tony Roy, president of CareerBuilder EMEA. “That’s why it’s so important to thoroughly prepare for anticipated questions and ask friends and family to provide feedback on how you are presenting yourself. Practice means more confidence in your delivery and less anxiety that can lead to mishaps.”
The study also asked employers to identify factors that would them more likely to offer a position to one candidate over another equally qualified candidate. Responses included:
- The candidate with the better sense of humor – 35 per cent
- The candidate who is better dressed – 28 per cent
- The candidate who is involved in his/her community – 24 per cent
- The candidate who is more on top of current affairs and pop culture – 18 per cent
- The candidate who is more physically fit – 16 per cent
- The candidate who is bilingual – 14 percent
- The candidate who is more involved in social media – 9 per cent
To avoid body language faux pas during interviews, CareerBuilder recommends:
Stay calm. Help to manage nerves by leaving your home with plenty of time to get to the interview, avoid caffeine and take deep breaths.
Practice, practice, practice. Do your homework on the company, rehearse responses to common questions and come armed with examples of your accomplishments.
See for yourself. Practice interview responses in front of a mirror or videotape yourself to see first-hand how you come across to the interviewer and adjust body language as necessary.