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Body Language and Academic Job Interviews

Body Language and Academic Job Interviews

What you dont say in a job interview that shows a lot about you. 

People form opinions in the first few minutes they meet you. Independently of what you say, such views arise from your appearance, how you dress, and how you groom yourself. They also relate to your body language, what you do, and communicate with your body, such as postures, gestures and, face expressions.

Everybody communicates without words. Educators and teachers, in particular, need to make some productive use of it inside and outside the classroom because most of the content they will convey to students will be through non-verbal communication. A job interview is a prelude for you to show how you will project yourself in a class. So, showing reliable non-verbal communication may be the key to get the job.

Nervousness, anxiety, calmness, etc. are feelings. Feelings cannot be avoided. However, they can be handled. The signals you give on how you deal with them is what is called non-verbal communication. Therefore, non-verbal communication is focused on the how.' not the what,' expressed without words. We can learn the how’ partially because this kind of communication is not entirely conscious, something we need to be aware of. Generally, facial expressions are more difficult to control. It is relevant to train on what we can’ control, so we avoid sending mixed messages as much as possible. For example, keeping yourself from touching your hair, nose, biting your nails will help you give the impression you are calm. 

Much is said about body language in job interviews. For example:

  • Entering and leaving the room with enthusiasm and energy, walking upright with head up. However, the head not too up. It may mean arrogance.
  • A firm handshake shows self-confidence. A soft one may tell your interviewer you are insecure.  A long-lasting one may indicate you are trying too hard to impress them. 
  • Keep eye contact. However, not too much, since it may show you are lying.
  • Keep hand gestures/ legs movements to the minimum. If you move too much, your interviewer will get distracted.
  • Show emotions through facial expressions discreetly. 
  • Straight posture. Leaning back or crossing your arms or legs may mean a lack of interest.

Nevertheless, there is much more that can be learned apart from the items mentioned above, such as:

  • Open palms, which show honesty.
  • Moving eyes from right to left and vice-versa will convey confidenceAlso, avoid eye-rolling. It shows disbelief and disapproval.
  • Locking your ankles may mean uncertainty and nervousness. For men, it is more advisable to keep both feet on the floor. However, crossing legs at the ankle for women it is more acceptable, keeping knees together.
  • Silence also plays a significant role in interviews. It means you are giving serious thought to something. However, it should not last too long, or your interviewers may perceive you do not know what to say.

As well as silence, the tone of voice is relevant in job interviews. While shouting conveys authority and superiority, you do not want to shout in a job interview or class. Therefore, a firm tone of voice –not high-, may comply with the same objective. 

There is a lot to learn about the tone of voice, too. Making good use of it will have a more substantial impact on what you have to say.

You have spent a remarkable amount of time on research, looking for the job, writing a resume, cover letter, personal statement, etc. Now it is time to train on your body language. Use it to connect better. Being able to use non-verbal communication abilities in your favor, aside from the content of the interview may mean getting the job.