Subtle Nuances The Panel Observes During Interviews

Subtle nuances the panel observes during job interviews:

Do you know that it takes only 30 seconds for the interviewer to form an impression about you which in turn  sets the flow/environment of the interview. So remember, first impressions count!!

Do you know that ………
•    55% of the communication consists of body language,
•    38% is expressed through tone of voice and only
•    7% is communicated through words.

Our non – verbal Messages and their importance :
When we send mixed messages or our verbal messages don't vibe with our body language, our credibility can crumble because most smart interviewers believe the nonverbal more than the verbal.

Since nonverbal communication is more eloquent, honest and accurate than verbal communication, such actions reveal your inner confidence. While words can deceive -- many people don't mean what they say or say what they mean -- body language is subconscious. Since it's more spontaneous and less controlled, it shows our true feelings and attitudes

So let us take a step backwards and understand what are the subtle nuances which can make/break an interview.

Importance of Time :
It might sound clichéd to talk about arriving in time for a job interview, but I think it is still important to bring it to your attention . An interview is considered a very important appointment – after all you are looking for a job opportunity and wanting to make a career in that organization. It’s much better to arrive early than to arrive late! If you are unable to make it to the interview, do give advance notice indicating your unavailability. Your attitude or attention to time will also send out non-verbal messages. Some companies give only one opportunity to postpone an interview meeting and are willing to drop a candidate even if he has fantastic credentials. So make sure that you are able to make it to the interview once you have given your consent.

Now that you have announced your arrival at the reception and are waiting to be called in, learn to relax and maybe refresh yourself.  Use the extra time to compose yourself. Observe your environment. How the employees walk, talk and interact are subtle but important information which would help you in understanding the kind of people the company hires and their expectation from you.

Companies also observe you while you are waiting  - whether you are comfortable, shifty, irritated, relaxed – without you even realizing it, thus making opinions about you even before the interview has begun. A good option is to take a book, so that you can do something constructive while you are waiting.

The Start of an Interview :
When you are led to the interview area, walk in tall, with a smile on your face.

Shake hands firmly with the interviewers- It should not be crushing nor too limp. Crushing shows an overbearing attitude while limp could indicate otherwise. More than a few candidates betray their nervousness by extending limp, clammy palms, and shaking hands weakly

Well dressed and well groomed candidates looking fresh and smelling fresh are always a pleasant experience for the interviewers. Gaudy and heavy make-up should be kept for  parties and marriages. It can put off the interviewers. Tight clothes can make your interviewers uncomfortable and distracted.

Some candidates have the habit of carrying things more than what they can handle, leading to things/papers falling down…..and showing their clumsiness (which is quickly picked up by the interviewer(s) and stored in their memory). Carry minimum things when you go for an interview. It also leaves you feeling less clustered.

Your Posture during an interview :
Now that you are in an interview, you're supposed to relax !! Ironically, the more relaxed you can be, the more chance you'll have of being your real self. And that's what you want to sell to the employer - yourself

No one expects you to sit ramrod straight, but you need to sit up to project an image of alertness and interest in the interview.

In a difficult situation we are often inclined to fold our arms across our body. This helps to give us a more secure feeling. During a job interview it is better not to do this, because folding your arms can be interpreted as a defensive move. It is better to let your hands lie loosely on your lap or place them on the armrests of your chair.

How Close Can You Get?
Like anyone else, interviewers become uncomfortable if their personal space, or preferred distance from others, is invaded. Introvert interviewers need more space as compared to  extrovert interviewers.

When emphasizing key points, project sincerity and confidence by leaning forward, maintaining eye contact and using expressive gestures. Leaning back and looking down may be interpreted as a lack of confidence.

How Do You Speak?
Do you know  that  How you say something often is more meaningful than what you say. Use a natural tone and don't deviate from your normal speaking rate, volume, rhythm, pitch, breathiness or resonance. Secure applicants have relaxed, warm and well-modulated voices that match their feelings, allowing them to appropriately express excitement, enthusiasm and interest during conversations.

Conversely, insecure candidates can't control their voice pitch and volume. They have weak, soft, hesitant or tremulous voices, and clear their throats, use "uhs" and "ums" or other nervous mannerisms excessively. Others try to mask their insecurity by speaking in complex, involved sentences.

Maintain Eye Contact :
During the job interview it is important to maintain eye contact with  the interviewers. By looking directly at the other person we are giving them a sign of trust. By looking directly at people we are also in control of the conversation.  Look directly, but do not stare as if you are trying to  read his/her soul.A gaze that lasts longer than seven to 10 seconds can cause discomfort or anxiety. Also, don't stare at interviewers during long silences, since it only increases the tension.

Candidates with secure self-esteem alter their facial expressions to match their message, rather than perpetually wearing the same one. They smile when saying something friendly, and maintain good eye contact, which signifies openness and honesty.
Less-assured candidates don't maintain eye contact, act shy or ashamed or smile at inappropriate times. They may appear downcast, or drop their eyes and heads, giving them an untrustworthy appearance.

The Flow in the interview :
The interviewer generally would like you to begin with speaking about yourself – it means taking them through your education, your career path until now, most importantly your current role and your achievements. Getting into stories or irrelevant talk not relating to your job will just bore the interviewer and switch him/her off.

The whole interview process depends on how you carry yourself through the process. Knowing the role and doing your homework will help in answering the questions with confidence. Giving examples to support your competencies will help the interviewer to visualize your role and will create a better impact.

What ever you say, it should be in relevance to your current role, your competencies or future role.

Carry a copy of the CV even if you have not been asked to. It saves time if the interviewer is not able to find it (for whatever reason!) and also shows your proactiveness.

Your CV must be error free since it is such an important document. After all you have been called on the basis of  your CV.

Apart from paying attention to your own body language, it is also important to see how your interviewers are behaving. For example, when the interviewers  are of the opinion that you hold the floor for too long or you annoy them with your interruptions, they will show their irritation at first through their body language. When the interviewers  shake their heads, sigh or fold their arms and lean back, you can take this as a sign of displeasure.

Nodding your head while speaking is a good way of supporting your words or adding meaning to them. Hand movements can also help to liven up the interview and keeps the interviewer’s focus on you. The fact that you make movements with your hands during an interview might indicate that you feel at ease quickly. In most cases it is better not to make too many hand movements at the start of the interview but add them slowly throughout the interview. Pay attention to your interviewers as well: if they use their hands to make things clear, you can definitely do this as well. When they don't make many movements, it is better if you don't either. They may consider it distracting thereby losing focus on what you are saying.

Also pay attention to unconscious movements that you may make sometimes due to nervousness. For example, shuffling with your feet or kicking against the leg of a table can be very irritating for other people. Drumming with your fingers or clicking with a pen also won't be a great contribution to the interview. So pay attention!

When should you look at whom?
During the job interview it is important to look at all the interviewers. By looking directly at the other person we are giving them a sign of trust. By looking directly at people we are also in control of the conversation.  Look directly, but do not stare as if you are trying to  read his/her soul. When one of the interviewers’ explains something or poses a question, keep looking at this person for as long as he or she is speaking. This shows that you're listening. While he is speaking he may also look at the other people, but every time he wants to emphasize something he will look at you again. You can then nod to encourage him to continue talking. When you start answering the question, you can look first at the person who posed the question, and turn to look at the other interviewers as well, thereby including them into the conversation.

You shouldn’t ignore any of the people who are interviewing, but you should give priority to the person who’s asking the question.”

Incase you are not clear, ask them

Reading Interviewers :
Hiring managers also use gestures to convey specific messages. Nodding signifies approval and encourages applicants to continue talking, while leaning forward shows they're interested. Folded arms, crossed legs, picking imaginary hint from clothing or running their fingers along their noses are signs that an interviewer disagrees with you. Thumb twiddling, finger drumming and other fidgeting mannerisms mean the interviewer isn't paying attention.

Guard against using similar gestures or betraying your nervousness by clenching or wringing your hands. Other actions that convey stress include holding your legs or arms tensely, perching on the edge of a chair or playing with a watch or ring.

One caveat: Don't imagine a hidden meaning in every gesture. For example, if an interviewer rubs her nose while you're speaking, she may just have an itchy nose. Try to gauge the situation when seeking the meaning to a mannerism. Most experts look for clues in groups of gestures, not random ones.

Nevertheless, communicating the right nonverbal signals can help you convey an enthusiastic, positive and confident attitude during job interviews. And learning to read interviewers' cues can improve your prospects as well.

Be cognizant of interviewer's expressions as well. If they don't maintain eye contact, it may mean they're anxious, irritated, disinterested or that they want the conversation to end. An interviewer who looks up may be uncomfortable, trying to remember something or doesn't believe your answer.

Don't overdo eye contact with interviewers, however. A gaze that lasts longer than seven to 10 seconds can cause discomfort or anxiety. Also, don't stare at interviewers during long silences, since it only increases the tension.

Do not worry too much about tension :
Knowledge of body language can help you improve the mutual tuning during the interview. You can use this knowledge to hide your nervousness a little, but actually this is something you shouldn't worry about too much. Many applicants are nervous during an interview and of course they would much prefer not to let this nervousness show. However, it's not such a bad thing to be nervous. The committee members will understand this. Your nervousness may even show that you feel this job is important to you. If you weren't nervous, and therefore sit a little nonchalant, it might indicate that you are not that interested. Also realise that the job interview is more than just a means for the employer to determine which of the candidates is most suitable for the job. The job interview especially is a moment of mutual acquaintance. It's a first meeting with people that you might soon work together with. Therefore the boss should actually be just as nervous as you!

Be calm. Jiggling legs. Jangling key. Twirling hair. Glancing at your watch. All of these are examples of bad body language. Bottom line: fidgeting makes you look nervous and distracted, so don’t do it. Don’t even tempt yourself by having anything unnecessary in your hands (or your mouth or wrist!) Keep your feet flat on the floor (or at most, cross your ankles). This not only cuts down on restless legs, but helps you sit straighter.

Finish strong. The questions were brutal. The interviewer scowled the entire time. The job wasn’t what you thought it would be. No matter what finish the interview the way you started it – with energy and confidence. Shake hands while you thank the interviewer for the opportunity, and walk away with your shoulders back and head high. You never know what’s going to happen – maybe the interviewer is always in a bad mood, maybe some other job will open up. You’ll never regret leaving a good impression.

No matter what happens, an interview is an opportunity to learn. At the end, ask yourself what you did right and how you could improve. Next time around, you just might get asked “When can you start?” Good luck!

Letter, interview and body language :
The rules as regards applying for jobs have been subject to enormous changes lately. In the past, people preferred a hand-written application letter. It is becoming more and more common these days to find a vacancy on the Internet, and to apply for it via the Internet as well. Quite often it is sufficient to place your C.V. on the web. Because of this, the application procedure often goes quicker, and now you can find yourself invited for a job interview before you know it. You can find information on the Internet about how to apply for jobs. Information can be found about how to write your application letter, the clothes that you should wear and how to carry out the interview itself. The importance of body language is often mentioned, but doesn't always get the attention it deserves. After all, before a word has even been spoken, your body language will have already given people their first impression of you.

What type of person are you?
By using words you can explain what type of education you have received and what experience you have gained since then. You can also show through words that you know what you're talking about and you can answer questions to clarify matters. At the same time however, your body language will also give out a lot more information. Based on your body language it can be seen if you come across as insecure or self-assured. It can also show if you are a busy or a quiet type and it helps in giving an impression of whether you are speaking truthfully or not. Body language can show if you are prone to stress. It can show how enthusiastic you are and if you are a nice person, someone who will take his work seriously, but also someone who has a sense of humour and can enjoy a joke from time to time. The members of the application committee will ask you questions, but your answers won't only be oral. The committee will not only pay attention to what you say, but also to how you say it! Body language will determine first if it 'clicks', and sometimes all it takes is just a few seconds. Everybody uses body language, but it takes place mostly at a subconscious level. Through becoming more aware of your own body language, but also through recognising the body language of others, you can definitely increase your chances of getting the job.


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