Body language in a video interview
We all go into a job interview afraid we’ll screw up. Say the wrong thing, don’t have the right answers… or maybe the words won’t come at all.
However, what about that other great form of communication, body language? Is your posture saying the right thing? Do you look nervous or that you are contradicting an otherwise good answer?
This applies to any presentation or interview. And yes, it does apply to video interviews as well.
So sit up, uncross those arms and pay attention…
Resist the temptation to lean right back in the chair to feel comfortable. Slouching can easily be interpreted as being indifferent or too relaxed. Remaining upright, with your shoulders back commands respect and promotes engagement. In a video interview, you’ll be aiming to grab the interviewer’s attention and make them feel like they are there with you.
Crossing your arms / legs
Be aware of what you do with your arms. Crossing arms makes you look defensive and closed off, almost dismissive of what the other person is saying. Keep them open and relaxed so that you appear inviting and interested.
Avoiding eye contact makes it look like you have something to hide, and that arouses suspicion. Lack of eye contact can also indicate a lack of confidence and interest.
Looking down as you talk makes it seem like you lack confidence or are self-conscious, causing your words to lose their effect. It’s especially important to keep your eyes level if you’re making complicated or important points.
Whilst you won’t be making direct eye contact in a video interview, remember to watch back your practice question to see how it comes across. Focus more on the camera (to make it look like you’re looking straight at them) rather than what you see on the screen, and remember that it represents the person who will be reviewing your responses.
Be aware of any hand gestures you make. Let your hands rest naturally at your sides or on your lap, and don’t overuse the same gestures time and again to emphasise a point. And please avoid things like cracking knuckles, which just comes across as macho and attention seeking.
Stop fidgeting! The nervous energy will distract the interviewer and take away from your message. Shifting in your seat, playing with nearby objects and foot-tapping are just some of the common things that can make you appear uncomfortable. To overcome this try clasping your hands to the side of your body or on the table to prevent distractions.
Although a nerve-wracking experience, it is normal to forget to do something as simple as smiling during the interview! Ensure that you relax into the flow of the interview and smile to give a positive impression.
Smiling suggests that you’re open, trustworthy, confident, and friendly. MRI studies have shown that the human brain responds favourably to a person who’s smiling, and this leaves a lasting positive impression.
Speaking too fast, too slow or too low
If you speak too fast, people will have a hard time following. If you speak too slow or too low, they might fall asleep! In a video interview, at least the interviewer can replay your responses, but the point is you want them to get the message loud and clear first time.
Whether it is a video interview or face to face, you don’t have long to build a rapport with someone. Although body language is difficult to control, it could be a contributing factor between the interviewer asking you to the next stage of the assessment process or not.
We hope these tips will help you to leave a long and (positive) lasting impression!