Your body language is how you communicate your feelings through gestures, posture and facial expressions. Whether consciously or subconsciously, an interviewer may make assumptions about you based on your body language. For example, they may take you crossing your arms as a sign you are feeling defensive. Being aware of your own body language and how this may come across to others can help you take control of the impression you make during an interview.
There are some body language habits that interviewers commonly see as positive signs of engagement. These include:
– Making regular eye contact
– Maintaining good, upright posture
– Nodding when the other person is speaking
Displaying these habits during an interview can help you make a strong impression. That being said, if you are neurodivergent and know that you struggle with any of the habits mentioned above, don’t feel like you need to pressure yourself into behaving in a way that’s difficult for you. While there may still be work to do, companies are increasingly becoming more inclusive in their recruitment practices, which includes how they interpret body language.
One of the best ways to ensure your body language does not get misinterpreted is by disclosing you are neurodivergent early on, although this is a decision that’s totally up to you and there are no right or wrong answers.
One of the best ways to make a great impression is to be as relaxed as possible going into the interview. When you feel at ease it will lighten the mood all around and you’ll feel and come across more confident.
Ways to minimise any nerves you may be feeling include doing a few calming breathing exercises before heading into the interview or listening to your favourite music or an empowering podcast. Spend some time digging out what calming techniques work for you and incorporate them into your pre-interview routine.
Thorough preparation in terms of knowing what you offer, what the company and role is all about and what you can expect from the interview will also help you go into it feeling more relaxed and confident. So, do your research and try practising common interview questions or do a mock interview with a friend or online.
Last but not least, be yourself.
Interviews can be daunting enough without the added pressure of feeling like you have to pretend to be someone you are not. Being authentic and letting your personality really shine through is something the interviewer will appreciate; after all, the purpose of the interview is to get to know the real person behind the CV.