Step 7: Body language

Overview of body language

The first step to starting a successful job search is to get in the right mindset and plan what you want to achieve.

Write down what is important to you in a role and what your strengths and weaknesses are.

When looking for new roles it is important to consider the following:

  • Your want: where you want to work and in what role.
  • Your need: is often the salary that you need in order to pay your bills or maintain your lifestyle.
  • Your likes: are the niceties that certain roles may offer or deal-breakers to get you to take a job. These are the perks and benefits you would like!

You will need the following when applying for jobs:

  • CV: up to date, well written and relevant to the jobs you are applying for.
  • Cover letter: this is designed to introduce you to a potential employer and needs to be attached to your CV.
  • Email address: make sure it’s suitable and keep a separate folder in your account for applications and responses.

Overview of body language

Body language during an interview is extremely important. It’s often said that an interviewer will form an opinion about an applicant in the first 30 seconds. This is largely dependent on the non-verbal signals you portray before the actual interview begins.

It is worth bearing in mind that body language is an interactive process and awareness enables you to present yourself in the most positive and professional manner.

 

Think about people you admire, what makes them stand out? Often, it’s not what they say but how they say it. Facial expression and the way a person holds their body invariably creates more of an impression than the words spoken. It is often said that if you deliver a negative comment but smile as you do so, it will be well received.

To present yourself well, stand up straight, pull your shoulders back and lift your head. Immediately you will feel more confident and self-assured and in turn that is what others will see.

During the interview, be conscious of regulating your breathing. This will help you to remain focused enabling you to present yourself in a professional manner, whilst allowing your true personality to shine through.

Preparation before you begin

It is assumed that you are adequately prepared for the interview by having researched the company, the role you are applying for and the appropriate dress code.

Be aware of the first impression you will make

Look in the mirror. Do you think you look presentable and professional? There is a time and place to express your “quirky or unique self” and unless you are aiming to work in a creative or artistic environment, this is probably not the time or the place.

Practice shaking hands

Avoid the “dead fish” handshake – grasp the interviewer’s hand confidently and firmly, with an open palm and make eye contact while saying hello.

Visualise someone you have met in your past that made an impression as an engaging speaker

For example, your old Headmaster or a public figure on the television. Imagine you are that person, take a moment to breath slowly and deeply and calm your nerves.

Body language do’s and don’ts

During the interview do:

Smile

As you enter the room and wait to be invited to sit down, before doing so.

Sit up straight and lean slightly forward in your chair towards the interviewer

This suggests you are interested and engaged in the conversation.

Show enthusiasm by nodding occasionally

This implies understanding and agreement, when used in moderation.

Observe a comfortable amount of personal space between you and the interviewer

If you pick up your chair and move into the interviewers’ space, this may make the interviewer feel uncomfortable.

Align your posture to the interviewer’s

This shows empathy and agreement with the interviewer. Avoid mimicking every gesture though, as this may arouse suspicion.

At the end of the interview

Make sure you thank the interviewer for their time and as you do so, smile and shake their hand. This implies you were engaged in the process and enjoyed the positive experience.

Concentrate

On what you are saying, speak slowly and try not to fill sentences with “erm” and “filler phrases”.

Make eye contact at regular intervals

This will create an inclusive and favourable impression in relation to your ability to communicate effectively.

During the interview do not:

Panic

If your mind goes blank when you are asked a question, pause and paraphrase the question in order to give yourself time to think of an answer.

Fidget, rock back and forth in the chair, shake or drum your feet or fingers, scratch anything

Any of these gestures will suggest to the interviewer that you are unable to stay focused and concentrate for even a few minutes.

Rub the back of your neck

This looks like you are disinterested in what’s being said.

Rub, scratch or touch your nose

This implies you are not being entirely honest.

Cross your legs and idly swing one of them

This highlights the fact that you are very uncomfortable and is very distracting.

Fold your arms over your chest

This suggests you are unfriendly and defensive.

Slouch in your seat

This makes you look bored and disinterested.

Lean towards the door or keep glancing at the door

This suggests you are waiting for an opportunity to escape.

Stare anywhere in the room while being asked questions

This suggests you are avoiding eye contact which implies to the interview that you are untrustworthy.

Interrupt the interviewer while they are posing a question

Even if you can anticipate the question, it is considered rude to interrupt.

Overview of the 8 steps

Step 1: Where to Begin

Focuses on where to begin when looking for a job. Areas covered within this module include where to look for jobs, agencies to use and how to schedule priorities to ensure you maximise your time and effort.

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Step 2: Creating your CV

Focuses on the creation of your CV. Presents you with tips on how to create a relevant and eye-catching resume whilst still including essential information in a proffessional and structured way.

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Step 3: Preparing a covering letter

Designed to give you an overview of the purpose, construction and content of a cover letter. The cover letter is the sales pitch for your CV and a must if you are to grab the attention of a prospective employer.

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Step 4: Completing the application form

Designed to guide you through the importance of application forms. Everything from your wording, to how you fill these forms in matters. Make sure you take advantage of this insider information as you only get one chance.

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Step 5: The interview

Designed to guide you through the interview process. With tips and advice, this is invaluable and if used effectively, will help you to avoid interview pitfalls and ensure you are fully prepared for your next interview.

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Step 6: Interview questions

Leads on from step 5 and provides you with a selection of interview questions that include both person specific and structured questions. This module will help you with your answers and how to put your point across in a relevant and professional way.

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Step 8: All important feedback

Designed to give you an overview of the options and methods to elicit feedback. This module will help you detach the emotion from rejection and allow you to grow and learn from each experience.

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