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“Body language matters in an interview,” might seem like Job Interview 101 advice, but it is worth talking about no matter where you are in your career because everyone is vulnerable to some common mistakes. CareerBuilder recently surveyed hiring managers to identify the biggest body language mistakes they see in candidates regardless of level, and the answers might surprise even the most seasoned veterans.

The Art of the Handshake

Everyone knows that a good handshake sends the right signals, but it can be difficult to know whether you have mastered the art. According to the survey, 22 percent of employers rank weak handshakes as the worst body language mistake candidates can make and another 9 percent say too strong a handshake is equally off-putting. Many job seekers think they give a good handshake, but in the moment, do you really know what signals you’re giving off? It pays to practice often with friends. Use a firm but not aggressive grip, hold eye contact, and shake three times.

The Posture Problem

How conscious are you when it comes to your posture? When we are comfortable, we can often slouch, but 31 percent of hiring managers say bad posture can cost a candidate an offer. Hiring managers read bad posture as complacency, laziness or failure to pay attention. Even if you feel extremely relaxed with the interviewer, stay focused on keeping good posture but make sure that it is natural, not tense.

The Mixed Message Of Crossed Arms

Anyone who has ever read any bit of interview advice knows that crossing your arms is a bad idea. However, when we are cold and even when we feel relaxed and comfortable it can be a natural instinct to cross our arms. Unfortunately, hiring managers won’t ask if you’re chilly or of you naturally sit that way. They will simply write you off as being closed-off, disengaged or hiding something.

Faking or Failing A Smile

Everyone also knows that smiling is important in an interview. 40 percent of hiring managers say that failing to smile is a red flag, but they also say that fake smiling equally detrimental. When we are nervous, it can be difficult to smile naturally and many job seekers take a “fake it till you make it” approach. However, fake smiling can make you look even more uncomfortable than you really are. Do your best to prepare and relax, so that your smile is genuine and natural when you meet the hiring manager.

The Fine Line of Eye Contact

Two-thirds of hiring managers say that poor eye contact could cost you a job offer. However, there is a fine line between maintaining good eye contact and engaging in behavior that makes the hiring manager uncomfortable. In a natural conversation, eye contact is made and broken from time to time. If, however, you’re flat-out staring at the hiring manager, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.

If you are an experienced IT professional looking to take the next step in your career, partner with the tech recruiting experts at Talon today. Contact us to learn more about our track record and our commitment to your success.

 

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