Despite what you may have assumed about the term body blunders, I'm not talking about passing gas. I'm talking about your body language and the signals your expressions, posture, and movements send when you're meeting with someone. Here's a short list of the biggest blunders that can ruin your interviews, no matter how skilled or qualified you are.
- Dodgy eye contact. Remember when you were a child and your mother accused you of stealing a candy bar from the grocery store? You knew you did it, but you didn't want to admit it, so you looked at the floor, the ceiling, her shoes – anywhere but her eyes. Similarly, if you don't make eye contact in the interview, your words will lack credibility and you'll be less likely to get your point across strongly.
- Nervous twitching. Rubbing your nose. Scratching your arm. Bouncing your leg. Tapping your foot. Adjusting your seat. Doing one of these things in limited quantity shouldn't make an impact on the interviewer's opinion of you. But doing all of them (or a few of them repeatedly) during the entire interview will make the interviewers talk about you – and not in a good way.
- Too many um's, ah's, and like's. Shooting glances around the room and inserting seven "um's" into a 10-word sentence, or saying "like" after every other word will show that you A) are a poor communicator, and B) don't believe in what you're saying. Maybe neither of these is true, but your nerves will indicate otherwise.
- Blabbering. If you don't pay attention to exactly what the interviewer is asking, you're more inclined to ramble through your answer. I recently overheard two managers whose main complaint about a job candidate they'd just interviewed was that he went on for what seemed like an eternity, responding to a question that should have taken only a couple of sentences to answer. Word of advice: Don't do that.
So how do you avoid these blunders? Simple: Do the opposite of each. Maintain eye contact, sit still, speak well, and be precise.
Are there any other actions you can think of that would send the wrong signal? Let me know what I missed in the comments below.
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