Job Interview Tips – Presenting your Best Self
By Mariah Beahan, Recruitment Consultant
First impressions, such as a job interview or an important initial meeting can be nerve-wracking. It is an opportunity to present your best self and you want to give it your best shot. Even the most confident and prepared people may feel slight nerves prior to. The good news? There are strategies to reduce the likelihood of letting these moments get the best of you. Being aware and in control of your body language can change your physiology to put you into a confident state, increasing your chances of a strong first impression and a successful interview.
It is crucial to be conscious of how you are presenting yourself. According to author and body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards, “we make a snap judgment in the first two seconds of meeting someone and we rarely adjust it—even when we get more information. We decide if we believe someone, if we like someone, and if we trust someone before we have even heard him or her speak.”1
Therefore, the first two seconds are paramount, the more you are in control of how you initially present yourself, the better. The first component of someone’s snap judgment of you is how you display yourself. You are in complete control of your body language which you can leverage to your advantage to display confidence.
In the pre pandemic world, after a candidate has walked into an office with a friendly smile and introduced themselves to the receptionist with a firm handshake, they are typically asked to have a seat in the lobby. The most common thing candidates do when they are waiting in a lobby for an interview is scroll on their phones. With the intention of making a good first impression, this is detrimental to the impression of your confidence because you adopt a constrictive pose. By scrolling on your phone your head slumps down, your arms may cross and your shoulders slump inwards closing yourself off to anyone in the room. Not only does this body language make you look smaller, because this is what an apprehensive and unsure individual would do, it is also adversely affecting your physiological state.
In a world of zoom interviews, you want to still be conscious of your body language before and during an interview.
Power Pose to Exude Confidence
There are basic ways to exude confidence in the body which include holding your chin up, maintaining a strong posture, lifting your chest forward and pulling your shoulders down and back. Even more powerful are poses identified by social psychologist Amy Cuddy. Her team of researchers set out to discover whether certain expansive poses initiated a feeling and sense of power in individuals who otherwise felt powerless.
What the team discovered was that standing in expansive power poses increased subject’s likelihood to take risks, “high-power posers felt significantly more powerful and in charge than did the low-power posers.”2 Not only were subjects who had taken part in the expansive power poses more willing to take risks due to a sense of power, they effectively increased their testosterone and decreased cortisol. The result of high testosterone and low cortisol caused these subjects to feel more assertive with less anxiety. Deliberately changing their stance for only a matter of minutes “caused not just psychological and behavioural changes but also alterations in our subjects’ physiological states. All of which perfectly paralleled the known effects of power.”3
The practicality of engaging in power poses is immense, some of which can be adopted right before a job interview, meeting somebody for the first time, or an important meeting.
In the setting of a job interview, or an important meeting, before you enter the lobby and introduce yourself, go to a bathroom or staircase and adopt an expansive power pose.
- Adopt the Superman Pose by standing with your feet wider than hip width apart, chest open with your fists on your hips.
- Adopt the ‘Victory Pose’ by standing with your feet hip width apart put your hands into fists and push them up in a V formation above your head (as if you just won a race).
While you’re sitting in the lobby, or in your home waiting for the video interview to begin, instead of adopting a powerless pose by scrolling through your phone, or slouched over your computer, maintain a power pose by sitting up, pull your shoulders back and perk your chest out. If you are in a lobby, browse around, read a magazine or newspaper and even engage in conversation with others in the lobby.
Expansive power poses enable you to feel self-assured and reduces feelings of stress and anxiety. You only have to stand like this for a minimum of two minutes to feel the effects and reap the benefits. So next time you need a quick boost, find a private area and power pose yourself to confidence.
1 Edwards, Vanessa Van. Captivate: the Science of Succeeding with People. Portfolio Penguin, 2018.
2 Cuddy, Amy Joy Casselberry. Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. Large print edition. New York: Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Company, 2015.
3 Cuddy, Amy Joy Casselberry. Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. Large print edition. New York: Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Company, 2015.
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Job Interview Tips – Presenting your Best Self
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