Body language is a highly complex communication tool that we often forget about in day-to-day life. That said, anyone who’s involved in performing arts (even if it’s only at real am-dram level) will know how loud this language can speak and the impact it can have on the messages you’re sending to the world at large.
When it comes to interviews, what you say is really important; as is how you say it but the messages your body is sending out are equally worth thinking about. At the end of the day, when you attend a drinks industry interview, you want to appear confident, but not over-confident, and this can be a tough call.
Here are our 10 Top Tips to help you make sure your body is transmitting the right messages to your interviewers:
- Walk with confidence. The first body language you’ll demonstrate in your interview is walking. As we all know, judgements are generally made in the first few seconds, so your walk is really important. Make sure you’re walking tall and straight while taking confident, but not striding steps. Walk directly towards the person who’s addressing you with your body open in their direction. If there are other people in the room, this is your chance to let your eyes briefly connect with them.
- Firm handshake. If you’re being presented to your interviewers it is generally expected that you’ll shake hands with them. If you’re feeling nervous, take a second before entering the room to make sure your palms aren’t sweaty when you come to the point of being presented to your interviewers. As you are no doubt already aware, your handshake says a whole lot about you, so aim for a confident and strong shake, but not a bone-crusher!
- Are you sitting comfortably? As soon as you sit down, make sure you have your bottom right at the back of the chair so you are sitting up straight and won’t even be tempted to slouch. Try to remain conscious of making sure you stay in this position, but without looking wooden.
- What are your eyes saying? Eye contact is a really important part of showing that you’re truly engaged with the people you’re speaking to and is therefore an essential part of your drinks industry body language interview armoury. That said when we’re nervous, we have a tendency to either over-fix on someone or let our eyes flit around the room. Getting your eye contact spot-on isn’t an easy nut to crack if you over-analyse it. The trick is making sound eye contact at the start of any engagement and moving your eyes periodically when appropriate. Two or three seconds of fixed regard is usually sufficient.
- Reinforce your spoken words. While waving your hands about in an interview is rarely a good look, using hand gestures while you are speaking is a natural and effective tactic. When appropriate, bring your hands into the conversation because it shows confidence and is much more natural than leaving your hands clenched together on your lap or worse still behind your back.
- Knees together or legs crossed? Whether you choose feet on the floor, knees together or legs crossed, will depend to a large extent on how you feel most comfortable. That said; for women, legs crossed at the ankles, rather than the knees is normally a more appealing position as well as one that is less likely to put you in the embarrassing situation of showing more of your legs than you intend to. For men, it’s best to resist the foot on the knee position, which can make you look over-relaxed and a bit cocky.
- Use your head. Leaning your head into the conversation shows that you are fully engaged and interested in what’s going around you. This, alongside nodding and shaking, (when used in moderation) can really reinforce what you have to say as well as sending off the right signals to help you bag your dream drinks industry job.
- Lean in. While you never want to find yourself in a virtually horizontal position in front of your interviewers; a confident, open, leaning in posture confirms engagement and interest, adding power to your interview elbow.
- Breathe. Breathing is an activity that you’ve been doing all your life; most of the time without even thinking about it. However, in a stressful drinks industry interview situation, you can quickly find yourself gasping for air if you’re not careful.The secret to keeping yourself looking in control (even if you don’t feel like you are) is to breathe deeply and take your time. Pauses can be really powerful and speaking as you breathe out will help your tone of voice and confidence no end.
- Enjoy. As we’ve said before, while interviews are ultimately stressful events, if you’re well prepared and you are able to relax while retaining enough stress in the emotional mix to perform at your best, you’ll be able to enjoy the experience. At best, take the most you can from the experience and look back on it positively. At worst, get through it and give it your best shot.