An interview is a chance for you and the employer to get to know one another. You need to feel comfortable and well prepared in order to feel confident.
As well as finding out more about your skills and knowledge, the interviewer may also be assessing other qualities such as how well you communicate, and whether they think you would ‘fit in’ with the rest of the team. This is as important as being able to answer the questions you are asked.
If you are well prepared before the interview this will help instil some confidence in you, which will help you to present yourself well.
Guidelines for presenting yourself effectively
- Wear smart but comfortable clothes and shoes. If in doubt phone the employer beforehand and ask their advice.
- Generally there will be water for you to drink during the interview. If you feel yourself getting a dry throat, then don’t be afraid to pour yourself a drink.
- Sit comfortably with both feet on the floor and lean towards the interviewer slightly.
- Don’t fidget with keys or coins in your pocket. Try to keep your hands on your lap.
- Be aware of creating defensive barriers, i.e. folding your arms, not looking at the interviewer, frowning and forgetting to smile.
- Be as relaxed and natural as you can. Maintain natural eye contact, as you would if you were speaking to a friend or a colleague.
- Speak in a relaxed and natural tone. The interviewer may know nothing about you apart from seeing a CV or an application form and you need to be able to answer their questions as well as you can.
- Show interest by nodding and listening to the questions you are being asked.
- Above all, try to relax and be yourself.
By following these guidelines, you will be allowing the interviewer to concentrate on you and your experiences not what messages your body language is conveying.