5 Things to Avoid Doing an Interview
The hands are buried deep in his trouser pockets, the eyes are lowered to the floor, the shoulders hang slack: the HR manager immediately notices that there is no winner in front of him. With your body language, you send a lot of signals to your counterpart that you may not even be aware of. And that is dangerous: because if you want a job, you have to be convincing in the interview – all along the line. That is why it is important to be able to control your own body language well. Body language includes your posture and movement, your gestures, and your facial expressions.
1. Crossed arms
Like two unmotivated washcloths they hang down to the left and right of you again, and somehow they are just in the way: your arms. Where do you go with it, while the HR manager hurls the usual introductory questions like “How was the journey?” Seemingly harmlessly at you. Your pulse is at 180, your hands are already covered by a sweaty, wet film and there is a lot of rollercoaster riding in your stomach. You now need something to hold on to, and your two arms are just right for you.
This attitude clearly signals a defensive attitude to your interviewer, even if it is perhaps unconsciously or less due to the other person than to the situation. With this gesture, you show that you feel uncomfortable, that you want to keep the other person at a distance, and that you close yourself off from them.
Lay your arms loosely on the back of the chair or possibly on the desk in front of you or put your hands on your lap. If you are standing, it is still better to just let your arms hang down than to cross them in front of your chest.
A tip: If you are carrying a handbag slung over your shoulder, one hand can hold this bag in a relaxed manner. That can give you security, but it seems natural.
2. Hands in pockets
It is not uncommon for nervousness to overwhelm you in a job interview from head to toe. Now it would be so good to tidy up something, to put something in order, to ensure internal security, so to speak.
What you might locate as a casual gesture almost always looks out of place in such a professional appointment. What are you digging for in your pockets right now? Do you want to get something out? The gesture is useless and also signals reticence and insecure behavior to the other.
There is always a better place for your hands to be than in your trouser pockets. It’s a good thing because the nose, mouth, and ears are also off-limits. In the case of the hands, the mantra is “be calm.”Do not rush anywhere or alter anything. Serenity is where you’ll find your strength. Allow your hands to be your hands and simply leave them where they grew: on your arms. Place it open on the tabletop or loosely on your lap while seated.
3. “Cool” posture
Sure, you’re a cool guy first and foremost and that’s how it should come across. Your blood does not get up to speed so quickly, and you are the casualness in person – even in the job interview. Because you have what it takes and you want to communicate that very clearly with your looseness. Nervousness is for losers.
You want to radiate with your overly relaxed posture that nothing disturbs you. But one thing is clearly missing here: respect!
And that’s what HR managers or future supervisors definitely expect from you in a job interview.
All these little tics have one main effect: You make a hyper-nervous impression. If you seem too nervous, this can quickly be interpreted as a lack of competence.
Well, if you can do it, it would of course be perfect to rest your hands in a relaxed, calm pose. But as I said: in this case, it is anything but easy. Because often you make these movements subconsciously, similar to a tic, to relieve tension. It can help to film yourself in such a simulated situation with the camera. If you look at the result, you may find your nervous finger movements. Then you can try specifically to avoid this by consciously practicing the conversations and also focusing on calm fingers.
4. Avoid eye contact
“Look me in the eyes, little one” – for some this thing is harder than expected. Maintaining eye contact with someone requires a certain amount of self-awareness. If you are now facing a real alpha animal in the interview that has received a bit too much dominance on its life path, it can quickly be intimidating for you.
Hardly anything seems weirder than when the other person can’t look you in the eye at all. Because direct eye contact is a very fundamental thing in interpersonal communication; whoever ignores this is doing himself no good. The person you are talking to is missing an important basis for decision-making, and it is very difficult for them to assess you. Someone who absolutely cannot look you in the eye appears unsympathetic and dishonest to us humans.
Maintaining eye contact can be practiced. If you notice that you have problems with it, especially in stressful situations, do something about it: Practice keeping your gaze with family members, friends, or even more distant acquaintances. You can also practice this well at the bakery or while shopping. Feel free to break a little small talk with the saleswoman from the fence and force yourself to keep eye contact. But be careful: a dull stare at your counterpart also seems a bit strange. Maintaining eye contact for a few seconds, then letting your eyes wander around the room again, and then looking back at your conversation partner is ideal.