Body Language at Interviews

As someone who is attending interviews as part of my search for a new role as a Learning and Development Professional there’s lots to consider including of course Body Language at interview.

It’s many years ago now that I heard Allan Pease talk about Body Language at a JCI Conference. I do recall that after hearing him speak I became very focused on watching my own body language! However, with the benefit of experience since then I have modified my thinking but it is still an important consideration as long as you don’t become obsessed with thinking that everytime someone crosses their arms they must be feeling negative – they might just be cold or even more comfortable sitting like how.

It’s common to be nervous at an interview. You might be even more terrified to discover that your body language, rather than any words out of your mouth, can have a strong influence on the outcome of the interview. Here are a few quick do’s and don’ts that can help you ace your next interview.

  • Do: Give a firm handshake.
  • Don’t: Mash their hand too hard.
  • Do: Wait to be invited to sit down.
  • Don’t: Collapse into the chair. Keep everything controlled.
  • Do: Make eye contact. This shows you are paying attention and have nothing to hide. If there is more than one person conducting the interview, pay attention to each of them for a few seconds at a time. Start and finish with the person who has asked the most recent question you are answering.
  • Don’t: Stare. It can start to become too intense and uncomfortable.
  • Do: Sit comfortably, leaning slightly forward. Too forward seems like you are pushy or desperate. Too far back seems to indicated you are not really interested.
  • Don’t: Slouch, or lean too far forward or back. Sitting hunched forward, or lounging with arms and legs everywhere has the effect of looking a little too relaxed.
  • Don’t: Be too rigid. Try not to sit like a statue bolt upright in your chair with your fists bunched tightly. Act as naturally as you can considering the formality of this type of conversation.
  • Do: Face your questioners. This will help you look at each in turn.
  • Don’t: Angle your body away from them. This looks like you are trying to run away, or can’t wait to get out of there – especially if you are partly facing the door.
  • Do: Use your hands when speaking. A subtle message of control is to touching your fingertips together.
  • Don’t: Thrash around like a windmill. It is too distracting and suggests nervousness.
  • Do: Sit as still as you can while still carrying on a normal conversation.
  • Don’t: Touch your face or hair. This can make you seem dishonest and untrustworthy.
  • Do: Keep your shoulders relaxed.
  • Don’t: Rub your head or neck because they feel stiff. This can give the impression that you are bored or not interested.
  • Do: Keep your arms relaxed and natural.
  • Don’t: Sit with your arms crossed. This makes you look defensive and standoffish.

These main do’s and don’ts of body language when you go on an interview can make all the difference to whether you are successful. Practice with a friend, in front of a mirror, or on video, and start sending the right messages with your body language.

Personal Branding for Job Seekers

Let’s take a look at Personal Branding for Job Seekers. This is the third post in which I have covered the topic of Personal Branding for Job Seekers which gives you some indication of the importance I place on it. For me it’s the start point of the work you need to do in order to secure a new role. I appreciate that when you are looking for a new role you need to keep a tight rein on finances however there is one book which I strongly recommend you invest in.

In her book, Personal Branding for Brits: How to Sell Yourself to Find a Job, Land a Promotion, and Get Ahead at Work, Jennifer Holloway provides very clear, step by step guidance on how to approach your personal branding as a job seeker. She not only shows you in a very actionable way how to create the right brand for yourself, but she will also show you how to use this brand to help you secure a new role. I read her book many months ago and found it invaluable in terms of understanding and clarifying my personal brand. When I was first advised that I was being given notice following compulsory redundancy it was the book that I decided to revisit and work my way through in the early weeks of my notice period. The time I spent working through it was again invaluable as I was able to focus again on what my brand was all about.

Jennifer has a vast experience in the corporate world, and worked hard to create her own company. She has also worked with some of the top-name companies in the world, including Microsoft, Barclays, and Hallmark. Through her career, she taught herself how to use her personality and values to build herself a brand that would push her career ahead.

Jennifer clearly understands that everyone has a brand whether they realise it or not. This brand basically consists of what people are saying about them when they are not in the room. The difference between a good and bad brand is that successful people work hard build their own brand, rather than let others build for them. In essence, you can let people conceive a picture of who you are, or you can tell them who you are yourself.

With this in mind, Jennifer provides step-ty-step guidelines to help the reader understand what their own personal values, drivers, goals, and plans are, as well as, to realise what their current reputation is and what they want it to be. She guides readers to use this valuable information to customise an actionable personal branding plan for themselves that will help them “find a job, land a promotion or get ahead at work.”

In her book, Jennifer teaches you everything you need to know about Personal Branding for Job Seekers,  how to get ahead in your career, such as interviewing tips, how to pitch yourself for a contract or job, how to attract new clients and how to maintain the clients you have. Her tips will help you learn how to promote your personal branding, and highlight just what you have to offer, without sounding arrogant or unlikeable.

Jennifer describes the approach to creating a successful brand for yourself as being able to tell people who you are, what skills and experience you bring to the table, and to showcase just what makes you different, in a better way, from everyone else. Essentially, explaining to them why they should choose you.

Through reading Personal Branding for Jobseekers, you will not only learn about exceptional personal branding strategies, but I am sure that you will also see a boost in your confidence and a growth in your personal development. You will learn how to enhance your personal branding capabilities in a variety of mediums, such as voice, phone, voicemail, email, meetings, presentations, pitch speeches, interviews, resumes and CVs, and social media networks.

In recommending it as a “must read” book Personal Branding for Job Seekers I am confident that you will not be disappointed with what this great book has to offer. It has received rave reviews from its readers, many claiming that the book helped revitalise their career. The main benefit of this book over some other self-help books on the market, is that it does not just tell you what to do, it shows you what to do. The book includes clear and understandable guides, tips, exercises and steps that show you exactly what to do to move your career to the next level.

You an read more about the book here:

In the UK – Personal Branding for Brits

In the US – Personal Branding for Brits

Using Twitter for Networking

Several years back, networking required a great deal of work. People had to attend events and memorise other people’s numbers. It had to involve a degree of proximity. Luckily, times have changed and networking has become easier than ever before. Millions of people have embraced social media platforms like Twitter.

It has a simple, streamlined approach that facilitates fast, informal conversations. Its real-time communication capabilities make it a great platform for you to expand your network. As you will soon come to learn, there are many easy ways to use Twitter for networking.

1. Finding The Right People To Follow

The starting point for great networking is finding the right people. There are many tools that you can use to do this. Twitter Search lets you use search operators to search for specific keywords and people. You can therefore use it to search for influencers in your market or people talking about your field of expertise.  In the “Who to Follow” tab, Twitter offers a directory of people that you might be interested in following. The suggested accounts are based on who you follow already. Some of the people you find and follow will return the favor and follow you too. Therefore, the more users you follow, the more users you will attract as followers.

2. Show Your Followers Your Personal Brand

Once you have searched for and connected with the right people in your niche by following them, you will have to ensure that your profile markets your personal brand. Details in your profile such as your bio and avatar determine what people think of you. A killer bio can get you more targeted followers. Your bio space has a 160-character limit meaning you will have to make the most out of every word you use. You should get your priorities sorted and start by including the most important information that you would like to get across to your targeted followers.

For example, if you are a graphic designer, start by providing this information other than writing about your addiction to football and golf. You may therefore have to exclude some hobbies. You should also include relevant keywords to enable people to find you during searches. For your avatar, you should use a recent photo of your face. For an organization with an account managed by many people, the logo should be used as the avatar.

3. Tweet Consistently With Your Followers In Mind

Your followers need to hear from you on a regular basis throughout the day and week. You therefore need to maintain an online presence by tweeting consistently. You should however take their interests into consideration. Ask yourself whether your tweeting is too much to the extent that you are filling up their feed with irrelevant tweets. In such a case, they will most likely ignore or block you.

The content you tweet should show others your interests. You can share current issues on your field of expertise, share advice, ask questions, solicit for opinions or post links to interesting articles related to your niche. In that way, you’ll have people reach out to you with comments or ideas of their own. This gives you an opportunity to add value by demonstrating your knowledge of your field as you also gain knowledge from the other users. This adds value and helps you attract even more followers.

All of your tweets will have an impact on your network. Think about how your tweets will be perceived by others. Make sure they don’t come off as being too sales-oriented or pushy. There is no harm in tweeting about what you are doing once in a while. Just make it fun and interesting, and don’t overdo it to the point that a visitor to your profile sees no relation between the information on your bio and the content in majority of your tweets.

4. Show Interest In Other People’s Tweets

You cannot successfully use Twitter for networking without showing interest in other people’s tweets. You need to respond to other peoples’ comments and questions. This can be done by typing @ along with their Twitter handle orby clicking the arrow button. Give a feedback or comment on others’ tweets. If the tweets contain a link to an article, give your opinion or whether you agree or disagree with the article and the reason for your decision.

A great way to show interest is by retweeting. Retweeting someone shows that you are paying attention to what they are saying and find them to be interesting. It is a way of showing interest in networking with someone without being too pushy. If you add some personal comments to the retweet, they’ll find out a bit about your personality before beginning more one-on-one networking.

5. Create A List of Influencers – Your Personal Learning Network

With Twitter, you can create lists of people you think are worth paying special attention to. This feature enables you to quickly read tweets from a certain list. Other people can also follow your list if they have an interest in the same subject. The list can be an important source of information. Create a public list of influencers in your industry and let each one of them know that they have been added to your list. As you come across people to add to your list, inform them that you have added them to show your recognition.

6. Share Your Network

As you continue to meet people on Twitter, you’ll come across people who have a lot in common. You should take the initiative and introduce such people. This will strengthen your network. The people you share contacts with will most likely do the same with you.

Does it start and end on Twitter?

After you successfully use Twitter for networking, you can go the extra mile. Spend time networking beyond Twitter. You can exchange phone numbers and talk over the phone or even chat on Skype.

Twitter is a great networking tool. Unfortunately, few people utilize it for this purpose. Make Twitter one of the important tools in your overall business networking plan and reap the benefit of establishing unlimited and valuable connections.