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Mastering Body Language For Your Job Interview

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It only takes somebody between 6–30 seconds to form an opinion of someone they’ve met for the first time, and job interviews are no exception. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ and though it has become somewhat of a cliché, utilising this information can determine your success in an interview.

So, you’ve researched your employer, practiced your responses to typical questions, arrived on time and appear neat and well groomed. Here is how to make the best first impression, along with some dos and don’ts to be mindful of during the interview:

 

The First 30 Seconds

Enter The Room With Confidence

This will likely be the first time the interviewer sees you (unless they have greeted you upon entering the building), so make sure you appear as professional as possible. Don’t slowly open the door, nervously poke your head around and tippy toe over to your seat with your eyes locked to the floor. Stand up straight, open the door and walk in with calm confidence and good posture. Offer an initial greeting as you enter, such as a ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Hello there it’s nice to meet you,’ and rather than turn your back to the people in the room as you close the door, use your less dominant hand to close the door behind you whilst maintaining eye contact. Walk over confidentially to shake your interviewer’s hand or take your seat if you are prompted to do so.

 

The Handshake

Mastering the perfect professional handshake is a key skill you will utilise at many points in your professional career, though its important to neither be too forceful or too submissive. An overly aggressive handshake can come across as trying to hard, yet a weak handshake conveys a lack of confidence. Keep your handshake firm, but don’t crush their fingers, maintain eye contact and smile. Eventually you will develop the muscle memory needed when applying the correct amount of assertiveness for a handshake, but in the meantime, it never hurts to practice with a friend or relative.

 

As You Sit Down

Under no circumstances should you simply slump into your seat like a sack of potatoes. This shows a general ‘I’d rather be anywhere but here’ attitude, which of course will negatively impact your interviewer’s perception of you. As you sit down, keep your back straight and tuck your chair in if you are sitting at a table.

 

During the interview

Posture

Maintain good posture but stay relaxed and try not to fidget. Don’t appear too rigid or stiff, as this shows you’re ‘on edge’ or trying too hard to look a certain way. When you’re sat up straight, imagine there’s a circle around your head, and try to keep your head inside this circle. If you lean back too far into your seat, you appear disinterested or too relaxed, but if you lean too far forward, it can come across as somewhat intense, or that you are trying too hard to seem engaged in what the interviewer is saying. It is OK to lean forward slightly ever so often, as it shows that you are listening, but don’t overdo it.

 

Appear Open

DO NOT CROSS YOUR ARMS! If there is any bigger indication that somebody is nervous, reserved, or holding back, I have yet to discover it. It is best to keep the hands on your lap or position your arms either at your sides or on the table. Avoid twiddling your thumbs or touching your hair or face. All of these are your body’s unconscious efforts to shy away from a situation. Remember to show confidence and that you are at ease with the situation. It’s fine to gesticulate when giving answers, but don’t go overboard.

 

Smile

A job interview can make anyone nervous, and recruiters seldom employ miserable people. The simple fix is to just smile. A smile can lower the stress levels and make you feel more relaxed. You will look comfortable, personable and ultimately, more likeable.

 

The Eyes

We have addressed the importance of maintaining eye contact without staring into your employer’s soul, however, when not maintaining eye contact, your eyes can give away more than you realise. Typically, when a person looks to their right while formulating a response, they are creating an artificial construct i.e., creating something that they haven’t seen or heard before. On the flipside, if they look to the left, they are recalling information about something they’ve seen or heard. A lot of these are unconscious movements that the body makes in a reaction to formulating a response and can be difficult to control, namely casting eyes to either relevant sides of the brain that deal with memory or imagination. However, the best way to avoid this happening is to simply prepare your responses to common interview questions in advance, so as not to be tripped up by a question you weren’t expecting.

 

At the End of the Interview

Don't Appear Rushed

Your behaviour here will confirm your interviewer’s final perception of you, so quickly scrambling out of your seat, gathering your things and bolting out of the door is a sure  fire way to leave a bad lasting impression. It makes you look like you just can’t wait to get out of there and breathe again. Instead, try to leave as confidently as you entered. Offer a final handshake and thank your interviewer for their time and express gratitude for the opportunity. If everybody is leaving the room together, match their pace and offer to hold the door if they aren’t already holding it open for you. Offer a final goodbye as you turn to exit the building. It’s worth bearing in mind that you may be watched as you walk out of the building, so try not to break composure and stride just yet!

 

In Conclusion

Ok so we’ve covered A LOT here, and you may finish this article with even more things to worry about than before. However, if you take one thing away from this, it’s that the simple way to avoid giving a negative impression to your interviewer is to remain calm, composed and confident. Should you worry that things are going astray, just remind yourself that your employer has chosen to interview you, so they are already impressed and think you are a good fit for the role. Remember to be open and polite, and you’re sure to walk away with a smile on your face.

Posted by Joe Lord on 5 July 2022

Related Content

Mastering Body Language Banner (600 × 300 Px)

Mastering Body Language For Your Job Interview

Mastering Body Language For Your Job Interview

It only takes somebody between 6–30 seconds to form an opinion of someone they’ve met for the first time, and job interviews are no exception. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ and though it has become somewhat of a cliché, utilising this information can determine your success in an interview. So, you’ve researched your employer, practiced your responses to typical questions, arrived on time and appear neat and well groomed. Here is how to make the best first impression, along with some dos and don’ts to be mindful of during the interview:   The First 30 Seconds Enter The Room With Confidence This will likely be the first time the interviewer sees you (unless they have greeted you upon entering the building), so make sure you appear as professional as possible. Don’t slowly open the door, nervously poke your head around and tippy toe over to your seat with your eyes locked to the floor. Stand up straight, open the door and walk in with calm confidence and good posture. Offer an initial greeting as you enter, such as a ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Hello there it’s nice to meet you,’ and rather than turn your back to the people in the room as you close the door, use your less dominant hand to close the door behind you whilst maintaining eye contact. Walk over confidentially to shake your interviewer’s hand or take your seat if you are prompted to do so.   The Handshake Mastering the perfect professional handshake is a key skill you will utilise at many points in your professional career, though its important to neither be too forceful or too submissive. An overly aggressive handshake can come across as trying to hard, yet a weak handshake conveys a lack of confidence. Keep your handshake firm, but don’t crush their fingers, maintain eye contact and smile. Eventually you will develop the muscle memory needed when applying the correct amount of assertiveness for a handshake, but in the meantime, it never hurts to practice with a friend or relative.   As You Sit Down Under no circumstances should you simply slump into your seat like a sack of potatoes. This shows a general ‘I’d rather be anywhere but here’ attitude, which of course will negatively impact your interviewer’s perception of you. As you sit down, keep your back straight and tuck your chair in if you are sitting at a table.   During the interview Posture Maintain good posture but stay relaxed and try not to fidget. Don’t appear too rigid or stiff, as this shows you’re ‘on edge’ or trying too hard to look a certain way. When you’re sat up straight, imagine there’s a circle around your head, and try to keep your head inside this circle. If you lean back too far into your seat, you appear disinterested or too relaxed, but if you lean too far forward, it can come across as somewhat intense, or that you are trying too hard to seem engaged in what the interviewer is saying. It is OK to lean forward slightly ever so often, as it shows that you are listening, but don’t overdo it.   Appear Open DO NOT CROSS YOUR ARMS! If there is any bigger indication that somebody is nervous, reserved, or holding back, I have yet to discover it. It is best to keep the hands on your lap or position your arms either at your sides or on the table. Avoid twiddling your thumbs or touching your hair or face. All of these are your body’s unconscious efforts to shy away from a situation. Remember to show confidence and that you are at ease with the situation. It’s fine to gesticulate when giving answers, but don’t go overboard.   Smile A job interview can make anyone nervous, and recruiters seldom employ miserable people. The simple fix is to just smile. A smile can lower the stress levels and make you feel more relaxed. You will look comfortable, personable and ultimately, more likeable.   The Eyes We have addressed the importance of maintaining eye contact without staring into your employer’s soul, however, when not maintaining eye contact, your eyes can give away more than you realise. Typically, when a person looks to their right while formulating a response, they are creating an artificial construct i.e., creating something that they haven’t seen or heard before. On the flipside, if they look to the left, they are recalling information about something they’ve seen or heard. A lot of these are unconscious movements that the body makes in a reaction to formulating a response and can be difficult to control, namely casting eyes to either relevant sides of the brain that deal with memory or imagination. However, the best way to avoid this happening is to simply prepare your responses to common interview questions in advance, so as not to be tripped up by a question you weren’t expecting.   At the End of the Interview Don't Appear Rushed Your behaviour here will confirm your interviewer’s final perception of you, so quickly scrambling out of your seat, gathering your things and bolting out of the door is a sure  fire way to leave a bad lasting impression. It makes you look like you just can’t wait to get out of there and breathe again. Instead, try to leave as confidently as you entered. Offer a final handshake and thank your interviewer for their time and express gratitude for the opportunity. If everybody is leaving the room together, match their pace and offer to hold the door if they aren’t already holding it open for you. Offer a final goodbye as you turn to exit the building. It’s worth bearing in mind that you may be watched as you walk out of the building, so try not to break composure and stride just yet!   In Conclusion Ok so we’ve covered A LOT here, and you may finish this article with even more things to worry about than before. However, if you take one thing away from this, it’s that the simple way to avoid giving a negative impression to your interviewer is to remain calm, composed and confident. Should you worry that things are going astray, just remind yourself that your employer has chosen to interview you, so they are already impressed and think you are a good fit for the role. Remember to be open and polite, and you’re sure to walk away with a smile on your face.

Job Activity0

Irish jobs market reaches 20-year high, as office re-entry drives unprecedented levels of recruitment activity

Irish jobs market reaches 20-year high, as office re-entry drives unprecedented levels of recruitment activity

Sigmar Recruitment today reports a record high number of job placements over April, May, and June 2021. The number of placements during this period is higher than any other quarter in the recruitment company’s 20-year history. Current figures are up 6% on the previous record set in 2019 before the pandemic. As one of the largest recruiters in Ireland, Sigmar has offices across the country and is present in all professional sectors. The first half of the year saw strong, consistent growth with job placements breaking all records in the month of May, with June accounting for the second-highest month ever. Commenting on the rebound of the labour market, Sigmar founding Director, Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “The jobs market in Ireland has never been stronger or more buoyant than it currently is. We’re seeing several macro trends converge all at once, which is creating significant churn in the market. Remote working has literally opened up a world of new opportunities no longer bound by location. This is coupled with a rising tide of consumer confidence, as many professionals find themselves in a stronger financial position than before the pandemic. “The last 18 months has asked big questions of us all, and the humdrum of lockdown has created a desire for change which is now resulting in unprecedented numbers of people moving jobs. Employee loyalty is increasingly under question, with remote work being less enjoyable, many workers are now committed to the experience of work over the employer, adding further to the current levels of churn.” IT accounted for one-third of all job placements throughout the quarter, followed in order by Financial Services, Sales & Marketing, Accountancy, Life Science & Manufacturing, Office Support, Public Sector, Construction, Professional Services. Business confidence has also grown steadily over the course of the year, as vaccination gathered momentum. The “low-touch economy” is booming is sectors such as e-commerce, digital, and logistics. Says Mac Giolla Phádraig: “The resurgence of permanent recruitment is somewhat unique to how we’ve rebounded from previous downturns, where we typically saw flexible work return quicker.” Although the vast majority of job placement in Q2 were understandably remote, Sigmar reports that the tide is beginning to change with the majority of employers now committing to hybrid work over the coming three months. Mac Giolla Phádraig advises: “As we now choose our workplaces, at a time when the power dynamic has shifted to the employee, employers need to ensure adequate work practices to reconnect the workforce with the workplace equitably. There is an inherent risk that new workforce inequities may emerge, such as “proximity bias”, where those closest to the centre of influence get greater recognition and therefore promotion opportunities as opposed to remote workers. When it comes to individual contribution the opposite could be argued that remote workers get the benefit of having less in-office distractions and their output is therefore greater.” Mac Giolla Phádraig likens remote work to long-distance relationships, which in many cases don’t work out. “We’ve gone from “living” with our employees in an office environment to long-distance relationships, which often sees commitment recede over time. The context of location also opens up new experiences and possibilities, which are now being explored on a scale never before seen.” He adds, “if we thought the war for talent was tough, just wait for the battle of attrition. It’s now emerging as the number one challenge for businesses across the globe.”    

It Jobs 2

IT Jobs Market 2021

IT Jobs Market 2021

2020 was an interesting year for Ireland’s IT jobs market with the initial impact of Covid causing some companies to reassess their recruitment practices - either pausing or freezing completely. However, most sectors have bounced back since March and we even saw some companies take advantage of a less competitive market and increased their hiring plans. In 2021, we expect to see a release of this “pent-up demand” for candidates as businesses begin to move back towards BAU models.   Digital Transformation Digital transformation projects that typically would have taken years to plan happened practically overnight or over a few weeks as COVID-19 restrictions forced companies to speed up their digital adaptions in what became an “adapt or die” environment. 2021 will see a further increase in demand for individuals with digital transformation experience as companies accelerate further the digitisation of their customer and supply chain interactions and of their internal operations.   Companies who failed to innovate or tweak their processes to suit the demand of the market felt a larger impact than companies who remained agile and changed quickly depending on the market demands. Consumers have moved dramatically toward online channels during the pandemic, so companies are having to create digital or digitally enhanced offerings in response.   Cybersecurity Unsurprisingly with the adoption of remote work and the planning for transition to the next “normal”, we have seen huge demand for infrastructure and security professionals which we foresee continuing in 2021. As organisations pivoted to work from home models, security engineers rushed to establish secure connections and prevent network threats that targeted remote workers. At the same time, with the surge in online shopping and e-commerce transactions, they had to bolster their organisation’s e-commerce platforms. 2021 will see organisations continue to increase their spend on cybersecurity as companies look to how they will operate in a post-pandemic world. With many organisations such as Google planning for a “Hybrid” work-from-home model, i.e. employees working a few days in the office and a few at home, network security will be a priority.   MedTech, Life Sciences and Healthcare Given how health has never been more in focus than it has been in the past year, it is perhaps no surprise that there has been a huge demand for IT professionals in the wider health industry. MedTech and Life Sciences companies are continually developing new and innovative treatments and consequentially developing technologies to enable this. We have seen an increase in demand of more “hybrid roles” such as IT professionals with experience working specifically within class 1 medical devices fields. Biotech and digital transformation within gene cell therapy in particular is set to be a large growth area for 2021. Connected health is set to be a large growth area for 2021 also, as medical practices are forced to digitize and with telehealth being forecast to grow exponentially.   Candidate-led Market Despite the initial dip in March 2020, the market very much remains candidate driven. Particularly now as candidates are no longer bound to jobs within commuting distance of the office. Regional talent pools have flourished as candidates who would have worked in major cities, now have the opportunity to work remotely meaning they can move to their preferred location and still do the same job on the same salary as before. Regional companies also benefited as they are now able to tap into larger talent pools due to remote working practices. Perhaps what has been most surprising about 2020, is that salaries have stayed relatively stable, but candidates have been seeking increases in their packages over base. With the increase in remote working opportunities, candidates are no longer distracted by “bells and whistles” (free food, ping pong tables etc.) and instead are more interested in actual projects, technologies being used and career growth and progression. Therefore, our advice to employers is consider how you are marketing your positions.     Contractors We saw in our 2020 Q3 survey findings that many businesses looked to Contractors to fill gaps in their teams while coping with the uncertainty in the market due to COVID-19. From recent discussions with our clients this trend is likely to continue in 2021. We particularly foresee an increase in demand of contract roles for Frontend/Fullstack Developers, DevOps Engineers and Data Analysts. As a result of the increase in demand, contract rates have been on the rise. With many large and SME organisations reverting to remote work this has opened the market up to all areas of Ireland. A big trend is seeing Contractors based in the regions now being able to work for the large organisations in the cities and receive the same rates of those based in the cities. Therefore, rates in the regional areas of Ireland have increased due to the remote access of new roles in the industry. All-in-all, we are optimistic about the IT jobs market in 2021 with plentiful opportunities across digital transformation, cybersecurity, MedTech, pharma etc. The roll-out of the vaccine should increase confidence and create further opportunities as the year progresses.   Download our IT Salary Guide Ireland 2021 (PDF)

Company Culture

Keeping Company Culture Alive Across a Remote Workforce

Keeping Company Culture Alive Across a Remote Workforce

With the majority of our teams now working remotely, the challenges of creating and maintaining company culture are evident.  Technology can’t replace what the workplace provides: community, camaraderie and shared purpose. Now, more than ever, maintaining culture matters.  Here are some ideas on instilling company culture across remote employees:     1. Connect Back to Your Values & Purpose For many of our staff currently, working remotely has been unexpected and in the face of a global health crisis, many are at a loss for what to do. For some work may feel insignificant now, so as their manager this is your time to help employees find meaning and reconnect back to your company’s values and purpose. While you may not be a company at the frontline, you still have a positive impact on people’s lives. Remind your employees of how their contributions add up to something much bigger and that we are all in this together!     2. Communication is Key Communication within divisions, one to one, social gatherings, company updates, all need to be consistent. This maintains relationships and promotes inclusivity.    Create an open and transparent communication policy. This allows people to be themselves and feel comfortable reaching out via online chat platforms. Set expectations on communication methods. Where do meetings take place? What tool is for social sharing?    Finally, you need to put an emphasis on positivity in your written communication. With the absence of face to face interactions in virtual conversations, it is easy for tone to be interpreted negatively so you need to be extra careful to be positive.        3. Mimic the Water Cooler Effect As mentioned, many of our staff are currently missing the day-to-day work interactions they have with their colleagues. Therefore, assign a platform where team members can live chat, share files, post photos and collaborate throughout the day to mimic everyday office life.  This can be where some of the best ideas and knowledge can be shared yet at the same time promotes inclusivity and the sense of “team”.     4. Trust In a remote team, there aren't any silly rules about being in your seat during certain hours of the day. This means at the end of the week you either have something to show for your week or not. This means you trust that your teammates are getting something done. But also, that your teammates trust you. To earn that trust you want to make sure you have something to show for your work each week.     5. Focus on Health & Wellbeing In the midst of a global pandemic, now is not the time to forget about your wellness programme when stress and anxiety is elevated. Make sure to check in with remote employees that they are taking breaks, finishing on time, and are maintaining a healthy work-life balance.   Make online workouts available to your employees allowing them to take part in physical activity. Perhaps set a company challenge such as a step challenge to get employees engaged in physical activity and as a plus networking with colleagues. For those struggling with sleep or anxiety, provide access to meditation or breathing courses. And to look after financial wellbeing consider organising webinars on topics such as managing a household budget, how your pension works, setting financial goals etc.      6. Rituals and Traditions Creating traditions with your team members, regardless of how often they happen, helps keep teams cohesive and encourages open communication and trust. Before you were thrown into the digital remote working world, undoubtedly you had traditions in place for how promotions, achievements and even birthdays were recognised. To keep spirits up, it’s crucial you keep celebrating these milestones.      7. Ask for Feedback Finally, the introduction to remote working has been unprecedented for many of us. Therefore, ask employees for honest feedback and suggestions. Use a pulse survey to get real data on this.      "You don’t need everyone physically together to create a strong culture. The best cultures derive from actions people actually take.” Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, Authors of Remote