What Role Does “BODY LANGUAGE” Play in the Interview?
Body Language is a critical part of non-verbal communication and demonstrates certain core elements of one’s personality. It becomes a yardstick for the panel to assess you on attitudinal and behavioral correctness. The challenge begins the moment you walk into the interview room. An upright posture, with a file held as an inclined plane with both the hands, graceful, confident steps and eye contact with all the panelists, projects a composed, balanced and poised personality. On the other hand, someone walking with quick, short steps with a constant gaze at one of the panelists and the file held casually casts a negative spell.
There are times when the panelist puts forth their hand for a handshake. Extend your hand in the vertical plane to reciprocate smartly by producing a firm handshake. Make sure the hand is not moist and that it is not passed on languidly. Please also note that a handshake is recommended only if the panel takes the initiative.
While answering questions, you must hold an upright posture and look at the panelist who asks you that particular question. However, you are also supposed to acknowledge the presence of other panelists. Thus it helps to start answering while looking at the panelist who initiates and gradually spreads eye contact to other people in the panel. It may help to conclude your answer by either looking at the same panelist who asked that question or by converging onto someone who shows more interest by means of nodding or sustaining a welcome smile.
In a Stressful Situation:
Typically, one tends to fumble and gesticulate anxiously while confronting a difficult question; this tends to magnify if the question is a complete “bouncer” . In such a situation, the panel is likely to put an extra ounce of stress, which may further aggravate nervousness manifested in a parched throat, hands clamped together or shaky limb movement. Please appreciate that you are not required to be a “know all” ; such situations demand even greater levels of poise and composure. However, your verbal communication has to act as a parallel anchor to help you cross this critical hurdle.
While handling tougher questions requires you to be calm and balanced, you are cautioned not to be too jumpy while answering a question where your comfort levels are proportionately high. Success needs to be contained within and not be leaked out through jubilant gestures .
Maintain a pleasant disposition throughout the interaction; smile appropriately as and when the situation demands. However, don’t overdo the smiling bit- a question that requires you to elaborate on the problems faced by our economy or finding solutions to incurable diseases should not be accompanied by a smile or, even worse, laughter!!
While you must uphold the basics of “body language”, you must also be vigilant enough to gauge the body language of the panelists. This helps you to strike a better connection with the panel. A constant vigil regarding the non-verbal communication of the panelists may be conducive to assessing the right entry and exit points.
While closing the interview, strike proper eye contact with all the panelists, thank
them for the opportunity and part with the interview chair “noiselessly” (without any jarring sound on the floor). Walkout gracefully without looking back, and don’t let your emotions surface on your face!